Ferrell is reliable as ever in the paint, but can’t hit from 3-point territory
By Devin D. O'Leary
Over the last decade or so, Will Ferrell has dug for himself a very familiar Hollywood niche. In his films, he invariably plays some sort of enthusiastic, well-meaning doofus toiling away in the lower echelons of some random career ladder. Ferrell surrounds himself with a collection of comic compatriots, all of whom add their own improvisational spin to the loose, sketch-comedy shenanigans. Racking up far more in the hit than the miss column, Ferrell’s formula has afforded the former “Saturday Night Live” star a comfortable movie career.
Is it possible to eat nothing but local food in a New Mexico winter?
By Christie Chisholm
Eggs, milk, peanuts. It didn’t look good.
I had spent the last hour scavenging the isles of La Montañita Co-op, and that’s what I was left with: eggs, milk, peanuts. I was hungry just looking at them. I offered my meager basket to the cashier, pausing to turn around and grab a hauntingly aromatic chocolate chip cookie from the deli counter behind me. If all I had to eat for the next seven days were eggs, whole milk and peanuts, I was going to enjoy my last meal, and I was going to have dessert.
An interview with one of the nation’s pre-eminent experts on the subject
By Christie Chisholm
Joel Salatin loves his work. He loves getting up at the crack of dawn and taking his chickens for a walk. He loves the succulence of tender, grass-raised beef. He loves observing his pigs, which snort with glee while sifting through piles of manure. And he loves the philosophy of his business, which is that a truly sustainable farm should also support a local food system. He loves it so much, in fact, that he refuses to ship any of his products. Aside from a few deliveries made to local restaurants, if people want ’em, they can come get ’em. And that’s basically how Joel Salatin became famous.
Many bands' first steps were across the threshold of the Golden West
By Marisa Demarco
U.K. oi! band The Business takes the stage. Young testosterone-riddled skinheads start slam dancing, but the Party Vikings, a local gang of rowdy punk rockers, have named themselves the kings of the pit. It isn't too long before a full-scale riot breaks loose, remembers Gordy Andersen, Black Maria singer and Albuquerque rock stalwart. Punks throw pool balls down from the Golden West's balcony. Tables and chairs cartwheel through the air and are smashed into sticks. And The Business just keeps playing.
Anat Cohen, award-winning clarinetist/saxophonist, brings her quartet to the Outpost
By Mel Minter
When she was busy mastering American jazz on her tenor saxophone, Anat Cohen gave little thought to the clarinet collecting dust in her closet, or to other genres of music. But she now moves effortlessly between both instruments and among a variety of musical styles.
The Perpetual Art Machine (also known as [PAM]) started as an open source Web 2.0 research and archive project. The creators—artists Aaron Miller, Chris Borkowski, Lee Wells and Raphaele Shirley—programmed [PAM] for Scope New York in 2006. Just a few years later, [PAM] has traveled around the continental U.S. and throughout Europe, featuring the video art of more than 300 creative minds from more than 50 countries.
Certain endeavors—sports, art, music, chess—serve as bridges between countries and cultures. Their universality creates an understanding between all involved. The difficulty of these exchanges, however, is in establishing a context. Programs need to accompany the goods, so to speak, to make an effective connection.
When Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones was published in 1986, it tapped into a vein most would-be writers weren't aware existed. Practically singlehandedly, Goldberg began the "Just Write" movement. By the early '90s, one couldn’t find a table at a coffee shop because each had been commandeered by a Goldberg devotee, frantically scribbling down his or her own bones.
African-American sports stars may net fame and cash, but how much power do they hold?
By Simon McCormack
William Rhoden's inflammatorily titled book 40 Million Dollar Slaves isn't as confrontational as its name. It's an exploration of sports history and an appeal to African-American unity more than an angry protest against exploitation. New York Times columnist Rhoden draws parallels between plantation slavery and the power structure in professional sports, where the athletes are disproportionately African-American and the owners are typically white men. Last week, Rhoden was the keynote speaker at UNM's Black Cultural Conference. Before hopping on a plane to the Duke City, he talked with the Alibi about how he got the idea for the book and what it will inspire in its readers.
The dead zone out our back door is gone. It took five men, two jackhammers and a hydraulic breaker to remove tons of concrete patios, sidewalks and a swimming pool installed a generation ago. Our Northeast Heights house had been landscaped with concrete. All those hard, flat surfaces meant no trouble and no maintenance. It also meant no natural life outside our doors.
Dateline: Romania--Cops have closed their investigation of a vandalism case that left local houses in ruins by concluding ghosts were to blame. Families living in the town of Lilieci reported broken windows, bicycles flying through the air, objects moving on tables and candles blown out when there was no wind. At first, police scoffed at a supernatural source for the damage, but a police spokesperson concluded, “There were bottles and things flying around. I did not know what to dodge first. We can find nothing to suggest it was anything other than what the people claim.” A priest has been called in to exorcise the homes in question.
Honestly, it’s an exciting time to be a filmmaker in New Mexico. Even if you aren’t going to be one of the rare few industry pros employed by Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins (shooting in and around Albuquerque this May, June, July and August--get used to it), you’ve still got plenty of opportunities in this town.
I’m standing on a soundstage at Albuquerque Studios. In front of me is Gerard Butler (300). To my left is Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”). On either side stand nine of the best stuntmen in the business. I take a deep breath. This is really freaking surreal. I am working as a stuntman on Game, a futuristic action film that took over downtown Albuquerque for several weeks. I’m getting ready to do a stunt called a “deadman.” Basically, I need to run full tilt at Gerard, and the cable strapped to my harness will whip me back when he turns and kicks me. You remember those Warner Bros. cartoons when the dog chases Foghorn Leghorn only to clothesline himself on his leash? Yeah, it’s basically that. When the director calls out “action,” I bolt forward, mindful of the camera tracking alongside me. Gerard turns and kicks, I feel the pull of the cable on my back, and my feet fly into the air in front of me. Everything goes black. I awake seconds later to the applause of the other stuntmen. They ask if I am all right (I didn’t tuck my chin enough; no matter, as I will have to repeat this action about seven more times for proper coverage) and pat me on the back, welcoming me into the brotherhood of stuntmen.
Last week came further proof (as if we needed any) that popularity on the Internet does not necessarily translate into popularity in the real world. The web-sensation-turned-TV-show “quarterlife” drew a tepid 3.1 million viewers when it debuted on NBC last Tuesday. It was NBC’s worst performance in the timeslot in nearly 20 years. Which doesn’t bode well for a long and healthy life.
Sometimes kooky fusion combos are better, more soulful, when improvised on the spot rather than premeditated. This one was borne from us being too tired, lazy, brain-dead and starving on a weekday night to be pithy or political with our pairings.
From its humble and often disputed beginnings to its rise as America’s iconic gastronomic offering, the hamburger is a symbol of everything that’s right and wrong with this nation. It stands for the New World transformation of immigrant foods, and for our country’s rapidly expanding waistlines. Hamburgers illustrate the American dream of mastering capitalism through hard work and ingenuity, or the American habit of overindulgence and instant gratification. Either way, there’s no getting around how tasty they are.
What you don’t know about the governor’s right-hand woman
By Christie Chisholm
Diane Denish may look unassuming—cropped blond hair and frameless glasses accent a face you might recognize on your neighbor, or your friend’s mom, or your real estate agent—but throughout the last year, she’s been your acting governor more than a handful of times. As New Mexico’s lieutenant governor (her first elected position), Denish takes over when Big Bill is away, and in 2010, she may be taking over for good if she wins the race she’s already entered for his office.
On Sept. 4, Leonard French had some unexpected visitors.
When he opened his door, French came face-to-face with Eddy County Sheriff's deputies, who said they wanted to see his marijuana. French, a Malaga, New Mexico, resident who suffers from chronic back pain, showed the deputies his supply and a license from the New Mexico Health Department that allows him to possess medical marijuana. The deputies took French's marijuana and left.
Martha Doster folds a brown velvety scarf for a tall, stern-looking man. She places it carefully in a small gift box, humming along to the Sting song that's on the store's speakers. It's a busy day in the little shop that's been a staple in the Nob Hill area for more than three decades. Everything is on sale for 40 percent off or more. As the last days wear on, the discounts will go deeper.
Dateline: Israel--Earthquakes are gay. At least that’s what a member of Israel’s parliament believes. Six earthquakes have hit Israel and the neighboring nations of Lebanon and Jordan in recent months. Shlomo Benizri, of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Shas party, has suggested the tremors are being caused by his country’s liberal laws on homosexuality. The Israeli parliament, or Knesset, decriminalized homosexuality in 1988 and has passed several laws on the subject since, including decisions to recognize same-sex marriages carried out abroad and granting inheritance rights and other benefits held by married couples to gay partnerships. Two weeks ago, to the outrage of the religious right, the country’s attorney general, Meni Mazuz, ruled same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt children. In what Mr. Benizri believes is no coincidence, an earthquake struck the region two days later. “Why do earthquakes happen?” Benizri said during a parliamentary debate on earthquake preparedness. “One of the reasons is the things to which the Knesset gives legitimacy, to sodomy.” Benizri told his fellow legislators the most cost-effective way of preventing future earthquakes was to stop “passing legislation on how to encourage homosexual activity in the state of Israel, which anyway brings about earthquakes.” The London Telegraph quoted Benizri as saying, “God says you shake your genitals where you are not supposed to and I will shake my world in order to wake you up.”
Curious what New Mexico’s homegrown filmmakers are up to? Friends of Film, Video and Arts will present an evening of short films by professional New Mexico film artists on Friday, Feb. 29. Among the films scheduled to be shown on the big screen are “Director’s Cut New Mexico: The Art of Storytelling” produced by Rebecca Dakota, “Susan Klebanoff--Waves” produced by Anton Kozikowski, “Black Eagle Flying Free” produced by Brad Stoddard, “Cycling” produced by Ken Knoll, “The Truth About Walden Matussey” produced by Tim Boughn, “Climate Change: What It Means for New Mexico” produced by Anton Kozikowski and “Teardrop” produced by Fritz Eberle. Following the screening will be a Q&A session with the filmmakers. This event will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at UNM’s Continuing Ed North Building (1634 University). Admission is $19 or $10 for Friends of Film, Video and Arts members. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to FoFVA, a local organization working in conjunction with Harwood Arts to support local, grassroots filmmakers. For more information on the event or the organization, log on to www.filmvideoarts.org.
One of the reasons City of Men isn’t quite as good as Fernando Meirelles’ 2002 film City of God may be that the two are only loosely related. City of Men covers much the same ground as City of God, features the same two actors, has almost the exact same title and feels--for all the world--like a direct sequel. But it’s not. It’s actually based on a 2004 Brazilian TV series directed by Paulo Morelli. That series was based on a short film from 2000 called “Palace II.” That short was based on a novel by Brazilian writer Paolo Lins. That book was the primordial inspiration for both City of Men and City of God--hence the loose relationship.
One, two, three, four, what are they fighting for?
By Devin D. O’Leary
The year 2007 saw a flood, a spate, a “surge” if you will of films about America’s so-called War on Terror. Few of them made much of an impression on the box office, proving Americans are so weary of the conflict they don’t want to face it at their local cineplex. But to paraphrase one of Jon Stewart’s better jokes from the Academy Awards, we can’t back down now. If we stop making war movies, then the audiences have won!
I’m starting to think no nation on Earth understands the Idiot Box better than Japan. Granted, we only see the tiniest sliver of Japanese programming here in America. But every minute of it just makes me want to consume more. Sure, there are probably plenty of boring news shows and the like in Tokyo, but I imagine prime time there to be a wonderland of frantic anime, hilarious commercials involving American celebrities and inscrutable game shows in which contestants are placed in constant mortal danger.
Regular readers of the alibi.com blog already know it, and now you do, too. Seminal Albuquerque punk trio Scared of Chaka is reuniting for one show on March 28, at the Washoe Club in Virginia City, Nev. It's the first time Yanul Hernandez (now known far and wide as Dave Hernandez), Dameon Waggoner (now Dameon Lee) and Ron Skrasek (still Ron Skrasek) have played together in 10 years. You have questions. I have answers.
Improved psych myth-makers map their way to the desert
By Marisa Demarco
It began with a lie.
VxPxC created the legend that the band had found all its music in a box hidden away in a closet corner. Slowly, the band was releasing the material, members claimed, unearthing it and offering it up to the world. "We got a couple calls from record labels that were like, Oh, we wanna hear all the box set and think about releasing it," says VxPxCer Grant Capes. There's a big interest right now in found material, he adds. Bandmate Justin McInteer commented on an art gallery website that the myth was all a big joke. "That got a lot of people mad," Capes says.
What is it that separates alt.country from its unpunctuated counterpart? Is "alt."just something new artists attach to their brand of country to keep people from picturing Toby Keith? For the Everybodyfields' Jill Andrews, the alt. is the rough edges.
During our phone interview, singer/songwriter and avid bird watcher Jonathan Meiburg asks to halt our conversation. "Hang on just a second," Meiburg says. "I'm looking at this bird and I can't tell what it is." After fumbling with his binoculars for a moment, Meiburg exclaims, "Oh, it's an osprey! That's what I thought it was."
Part of The Cradle Project's mission to raise money for orphans in sub-Saharan Africa includes filling a warehouse with 1,000 cradles and cribs made by artists from around the world. The original warehouse space was a 20,000-square-foot building in the railyard that was once a locomotive repair shop. The lease of the space to Albuquerque Studios has changed the plan slightly.
Perhaps the wisest words ever uttered by Franklin D. Roosevelt were "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” In today's culture, we could sure use a dose of that idiom, straight down the gullet without a sugary chaser.
It would require some luck to peg the trim, thoughtfully bearded 50-year-old man sitting in the fading afternoon light as a foreign correspondent. Indeed, dressed in a sweater and jeans, wearing pink argyle socks that flash as he crosses a leg, Peter Godwin seems about as far from a war zone as one can get in a room of ceiling-high bookcases and an elegant symmetry of lamps and décor. In its lush, ordered calm, this salon is a world apart. Even Manhattan's nearby West Side Highway has been reduced to a soft whisper.
At its inception, Imperial Stout was a savage concoction. The Russian czars’ thirst for stouts could not be quenched, and English and Irish producers couldn’t produce beer that would survive the brutal cold of a month-long trip to St. Petersburg. Their answer was a beer that could withstand any voyage; a brew so high in alcohol that it would not spoil, and so flavorful from roasted malts that it would still taste amazing in the event that it did. Imagine bulging barrels of viscous beer the color of crude oil, hefted deftly one after another by British maritime brutes. Cargo hulls full of alcoholic ballast destined for the dead city of the Eastern Lords …
Pepper guru Dave DeWitt gets fired up for the National Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show's 20th anniversary
By Laura Marrich
The hot and spicy business is smokin'. This year's National Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show—held at the Sandia Resort and Casino Ballroom this weekend—is expected to draw 14,000 people. That's in contrast to 20 years ago, when the first Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show made a profit of just $100. But it was a profit nonetheless, and the number of people in attendance has increased every year since. "The one thing about people who like hot and spicy," says the show's organizer, Dave DeWitt, "is they don't suddenly wake up and say, Oh, I used to like it hot and spicy, but now I'm going back to bland. They just don't do that." The New Mexico author and figurehead for all things hot sat down with the Alibi to figure out why.
In the year of the Writers Guild strike, do we really need a movie made entirely of reruns?
By Devin D. O’Leary
Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 film Rashomon features one of the most borrowed/refigured/ripped-off/homaged plot structures in the history of movies. In it, a heinous crime is committed. Four people have witnessed the crime. Each one tells their own version of events. Each person has a different perspective on things. As the story gets repeated, each witness adds more and more details. In the end, which version, if any, is “the truth”?
When the 80th Annual Academy Awards arrive this Sunday, they will cap off one of the most tumultuous roller-coaster years in Hollywood history. A summer bloated with record-breaking, mega-budget films (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Transformers) gave way to a fall filled with exceptional, challenging cinema (No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood). But it was the Writers Guild of America strike--beginning on Nov. 5, 2007, and concluding on Feb. 12, 2008--that threw our entertainment picture into a tizzy.
Despite the long-looming threat of the Writer’s Guild strike, the 2008 Oscars are looking like a fine affair. Had WGA members not approved their most recent contract negotiations, the Academy Awards would have been reduced to a star-free, writer-starved clip show. (Nobody out there wants a repeat of the Golden Globes. Shudder.) But the strike is over, allowing nominees to attend guilt-free and returning host Jon Stewart to rely on a full staff of writers to pen his off-the-cuff quips.
Best Motion Picture of the Year Atonement (BAFTA, GG) Vegas Odds: 10/1 Juno (BFCA, SA) Vegas Odds: 15/1 Michael Clayton Vegas Odds: 8/1 No Country for Old Men (BSFC, BFCA, COFCA, CFCA, DFWFCA, FFCC, LVFCS, NBR, NYFCC, OFCS, PFCS, SDFCS, SA, SEFCA, TFCA, WAFCA) Vegas Odds: 2/5
Nobody knew it was coming. Nobody knew Stephen Kazmierczak was going to walk into that oceanography classroom and kill five people. Just like no one suspected something so random and atrocious was going to happen all the other times it's happened in the U.S.
Here are the greasy links your Legislature did—and didn’t—grind out for you
By Simon McCormack and Marisa Demarco
They say it isn't pretty, making laws. A bill gets introduced, vetted in a series of committees, brought to the floor of the House or Senate and voted on. For a measure to become a law, to leave the state Legislature and become part of New Mexicans' lives, it has to pass both the House and Senate. Then the governor has to sign it.
Legislators couldn’t make anything happen in this 30-day session. Why not add a few days?
It's a good thing Gov. Richardson is dragging the Legislature back to work on his health care package. Too bad he couldn't demand they sit in those legislative seats until they got some other work done, too.
Gov. Richardson is upset the Legislature didn’t pass his proposal for health care reform and is threatening to call it back into Special Session to do just that. I have some advice for him (not that he has ever asked for it): Don’t.
Dateline: China--The price of hamsters has tripled in China since the start of 2008--designated by Chinese astrology as the Year of the Rat. The tiny rodents are considered lucky in the wake of Chinese New Year. The Chinese word for rat, laoshu, covers a variety of animals that can include kangaroo rats, hamsters and moles. Pet shops have been selling out of the animals, even at comparatively high prices of 30 yuan (nearly $5) per hamster. The Xinhua news agency identified hamsters as having a better image than rats or mice, and being more companionable as pets.
Although glitter from our Valentine's Day Card Contest still lingers on the floor of my office, it’s time again for you creative types to submit to another Alibi-exclusive competition. Yup, our fifth annual Photo Contest is officially in swing. This year's hoop-de-do is open to all styles of photography and unbound by categories, making it a photo free-for-all. Are you submittin' yet? Good. E-mail your digital images to firstname.lastname@example.org or snail mail a few prints to Alibi Photo Contest, 2118 Central SE PMB 151, Albuquerque, N.M. 87106. All entries must be received by Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 5 p.m. There is a maximum of five photos per person. Winning entries will be reproduced in our March 13 issue and the photographers will receive prize packs to make any shutterbug swoon. Submit!
No, this isn’t a live-action version of the computer-animated film from 2005. You remember the one, right? With the usual menagerie of cutesy but annoying animals voiced by the likes of Ben Stiller and Chris Rock?
Looking for something to do on Monday, Feb. 25? Well, you could help make a Hollywood movie. The feature film Love Ranch, directed by Taylor Hackford (Ray) and starring Helen Mirren (The Queen) and Joe Pesci (Casino), will be shooting a period boxing sequence at Tingley Coliseum on the Expo New Mexico grounds. Doors open at 7 a.m. and producers are hoping to pack the venue. The film is set in the ’70s, so willing extras are asked to “look their ’70s best.” Prizes will be awarded for best ’70s hair, best ’70s wardrobe and best ’70s car. I suggest everyone arrive wearing purple glitter hot pants, rainbow suspenders and a silver afro wig. That’ll make the film look extra ’70s!
Our long, national, TV-watching nightmare is finally over! The Writers Guild strike is at an end. Last Tuesday night, WGA members agreed to a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Writers were back on the job first thing Wednesday morning. So what does that mean for our favorite shows?
Steven Gould sat typing on his white, Linux laptop—just another customer at Satellite Coffee in Nob Hill enjoying a leisurely Friday morning. His fingers flashed over the keys, preparing a post for his blog, An Unconvincing Narrative. The topic: A review published on Salon.com analyzing the political undertones within the multimillion-dollar film based on Gould's novel, Jumper. "Now I've arrived," the Albuquerque-native jokes, closing the laptop before giving the Alibi a moment of his time. His T-shirt, perhaps, best encompasses the tone of the interview to follow. "Don't judge a book by its movie," it reads. And that's exactly what Gould is banking on.
Since there's no Best Band in Rio Rancho category in this year's Best of Burque poll, it's up to bands in The R to duke it out themselves for scene supremacy. (I'm starting a grassroots campaign to re-brand Rio Rancho "The R." It's just as tacky and insipid as paying a PR firm to christen Albuquerque "The Q," and if people in The Q have to suffer, everyone else should, too. While we're at it, join me in reducing New Mexico to one "colorful" and buzz-generating letter, "The X." Maybe we can trick Jessica Alba into coming back to the most mysterious state in The USA.)
A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting alone in a booth at the back of Jasmine Thai. I was enjoying a quiet meal in the dim dining room, trying to decide if I liked Asian pop music as it drifted down from above, and wondering if I should convert to Buddhism. Pondering the Eightfold Path and wishing I knew what the hell that ridiculously upbeat song was about, my evening was nearly perfect. But I couldn’t stop crying.