One-hundred-and-nineteen. It became a life-controlling number while judging this year's Ridiculously Short Fiction Contest. In the meme phenomenon, it popped up not just in the word count tool, but in numbers of e-mails, on license plates and in mysterious patterns in our alphabet soup (which, we had never consciously realized, also has numbers).
Whoa, there were more than 200 submissions this year, and while 16 of those made it into the paper, many a worthy story remains. Below is our pool of finalists, chosen by Amy Dalness, from which our judging team selected the winners. While these entries are in no particular order, I can tell you that select stories below had strong support from judges. Without any further adieu, here are the rest of the favorite teeny, tiny tales.
Two Worlds, an Albuquerque festival of Native American theater and film, is looking for a team of 10 to 15 American Indian filmmakers, 18 and older, to work together on the development, scripting and production of a 10-minute film that will premiere Aug. 23 during the festival at Albuquerque’s VSA North Fourth Art Center. The film also will be shown at the third annual Creative Spirit screening in Los Angeles on Sept. 27. Although some background in film production is preferred, it’s not necessary to be a professional or experienced filmmaker to be part of the team. Training will be provided by mentors and high-tech equipment will be available. Workshops start in July with the development and writing of a 10-page script that reflects the festival’s theme, which is the conflicts confronting many American Indians today--modern ways vs. traditional ways, urban life vs. reservation life, etc. This will be followed by pre-production and training at the Duke City Shootout Digital Bootcamp, July 15 through 25. Filming begins the first full week of August and will continue for six to eight days, followed by editing. Interested persons should contact festival coordinator Ollie Reed Jr. at (505) 890-0756 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info, log on to vsartsnm.org.
Amid all the high-profile comic book movies flooding theaters this summer (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, The Dark Knight, Hellboy 2), there’s one more whose roots trace, rather quietly, back to the graphic novel format. Wanted is based on a six-issue miniseries from writer Mark Millar and illustrator J.G. Jones, published by Top Cow Productions in 2003. Admittedly, the movie version takes more than a few liberties with the original property. (Like, for example, dumping the entire central conceit.) Sure, it’ll inspire the ire of a few dedicated fanboys; but the film is just as likely to find a solid foothold among average, non-inkstained viewers eager to get blissed out on pure summertime action.
Young Khan’s origin story is filled with blood and thunder (literally)
By Devin D. O’Leary
The year 2008 has not been kind to foreign and independent film. In January, only 17 indie features were picked up by distributors at the Sundance Film Festival, a drop from $53 million in deals in 2007 to a mere $25 million in 2008. This year’s highest-grossing import so far, the sentimental Mexican immigrant drama Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna), barely scraped up $12 million at the box office. Making matters worse, Paramount Pictures recently announced it was folding its indie label Paramount Vantage (less than six months after winning Academy Awards for There Will Be Blood). Last month, Warner Bros. said it would close its specialty division, Warner Independent Pictures. (Guess all that March of the Penguins money finally ran out.) At the same time, Picturehouse, the indie arm of New Line Cinema, was shuttered after corporate overlords Time Warner made New Line Pictures just another a subsidiary of Warner Bros. None of this paints a very rosy picture for the future of films that do not star Will Smith.
In a summer filled with comic book movies (Iron Man, The Hulk, Wanted, Hellboy 2), it seems inevitable that TV would go looking to the superpowered subgenre for inspiration. ABC Family jumped on that bandwagon recently, debuting the wacky superhero parody “The Middleman.”
There's no way to write an easy farewell to Out ch'Yonda Live Artz Studio. For any other venue, it'd go something like this: Out ch'Yonda opened its doors six years ago in Barelas with theater in mind but found itself a catch-all venue, including poetry, yoga, dance performances, workshops, art exhibits and tap-dancing classes. At the end of June, founders Virginia Hampton and Stephanie Willis, faced with rising rent costs, will shut it down.
An interview with the Santa Fe Opera’s Richard Gaddes
By Steven Robert Allen
During New Mexico’s monsoon season, clouds well up on the dry mesas, thunder cracks the sky wide open and, when we’re lucky, our parched desert gets the thorough drenching it deserves. Around that same time, the Santa Fe Opera (SFO) opens its regular season. At its finest, a night at the opera in New Mexico can meld the fury of the natural world and the electrical storms rocking that partial open-air stage.
Jeremy Scahill leads his book with a disquieting snapshot.
“My son! My son!” The police officer sprinted toward the voice and found a middle-aged woman inside a vehicle holding a twenty-year-old man who had been shot in the forehead and was covered in blood. ...
“Don’t shoot, please!” Khalaf recalled yelling. But as he stood with his hand raised, Khalaf says, a gunman from the fourth Blackwater vehicle opened fire on the mother gripping her son and shot her dead before Khalaf’s ... eyes.
What big business is heading to Rio Rancho? The governor has something special for the Legislature. The City Council wants to see if building a ______ is a good idea. And cops say they've found the people who ...
Give or take. PJ Sedillo, organizer of Albuquerque's annual Pridefest, says 9,000 tickets were sold. He estimates at least 3,000 watched the rainbow snake that made its way up a major Albuquerque artery on Saturday, June 14. Add to that number countless volunteers, people working booths and vendors at the Fairgrounds.
The Council chamber was crowded at the June 16 meeting, the agenda long, the AC on max and new Chief Administrative Officer Ed Adams getting along just fine with Councilors. And everyone was ready for the July break. The Council will reconvene Aug. 4.
You probably didn’t hear about it, but on June 11, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President Bush in the House of Representatives. The charges include obstruction of justice in the Sept. 11, 2001 investigation, violating United Nations charters, misleading the public about Iraq and illegally spying on Americans (it’s actually interesting reading; you can find it at kucinich.house.gov).
Dateline: Connecticut--Police in Bridgeport say they arrested a man after he ordered his pet python to attack two officers. Police arrived at Victor Rodriguez’ apartment after receiving a report that the 21-year-old was threatening his girlfriend with his 9-foot-long albino python. After the building’s superintendent opened the apartment door, Rodriguez allegedly threatened officers with the reptile and told it to “Get them!” Unfortunately for Rodriguez, snakes are deaf. And not very obedient. Rodriguez was taken away and charged with threatening officers and disorderly conduct. The python was taken to the city’s animal control shelter.
As of press time, Martini Grille has been handed 22 liquor-law violation citations, and its future as a bar is looking pretty shaky. (Remember, it only takes three strikes to get your license suspended.) But even with that uncertain haze hanging around the East Nob Hill venue, one thing's crystal: Vanilla Pop has left the building.
It took 18 months of waiting. Eighteen months of fundraising, volunteering and wondering when it would all be over. But Warehouse 21 is back, and it's itching to crank up the volume. “It took a lot of endurance,” says Warehouse 21 Executive Director Ana Gallegos y Reinhardt. “But we did it, and we survived.”
Sam Etheridge has received quite a buzz leading up to Nob Hill Bar and Grill’s opening. Phrases like “upscale, gourmet twist” were employed, and new, exciting food was promised. Etheridge closed his revered Ambrozia Café and Wine Bar to work on it. In total, rumors and speculation about menu and ambience dominated the local blogosphere for nearly a year.
We've wanted for months to figure out a compact small plate or appetizer that brings together the classic curbside combos of jícama, mango, pineapple, watermelon, cucumber, chile, lime and salt into one single bite.
... Sort of. The gospel according to Joe Anderson is the Launchpad will re-open in July, but he seemed hesitant (understandably) to make anything official at press time. A cursory glance at Anderson's websitelists a Launchpad concert by Rooney, Locksley and The Bridges scheduled for Monday, July 7—but that's still as good as speculation at this point. If the show proceeds as planned, it'll be the first time the Launchpad's opened its doors to the public since the Golden West fire shut the venue down on Feb. 28 of this year. Until then, keep your eyes here, on RockSquawk.com and on alibi.com for the first word on the Launchpad's relaunch. You know we're good for it.
David Sedaris is in high spirits. That’s despite the fact that he's just about to embark on a book tour of 29 cities in the span of a month to sign copies of his sixth release, When You Are Engulfed in Flames.
Youth and city councilors ally for green jobs training
By Skyler Swezy
It started with a survey asking several hundred of Albuquerque’s youth a straight question: “What concerns you?” Most common answer: the environment. Their answer has since spawned an alliance between a group of young people and four city councilors, pushing to pass legislation addressing their concern.
Tom Udall’s Senate campaign is running a television ad blaming high gasoline, food and health care costs on “the George W. Bush economy.” We see a disgusted driver, followed by a fed-up mother and, lastly, a despairing patient. Then we see Tom Udall. He looks into the camera and says, “We have to get serious about alternative energy. That will lower gas and food prices.”
DATELINE: DENMARK—A note to impassioned animal activists: Eating household pets may not be the best way to further your cause. A group of journalism students in Arhus had their Facebook accounts closed after they uploaded 30 pictures of themselves cooking and eating a cat (their group profile also included a recipe for a dish called "litter box"). The cat was feral and had been shot by a farmer attempting to slim the number of felines on his property; it was then prepared by a professional chef before the group sat down to dinner. The purpose of the experiment was to draw attention to the abuse of food animals. "We wanted people to think about what it was they were putting in their mouths," said group member Laura Bøge Mortensen, according to the Copenhagen Post. "It's hypocritical for us to spend thousands of kroner on our pets, yet buy the cheapest pork from Netto that comes from pigs that have lived a horrid life. And just why is it that it's worse to eat a cat than a pig?" Still, the meal wasn't without squeamishness. "We had to count to three before we sat down to eat, and I wouldn't really say that we stuffed our face," Mortensen said. "Everyone did take a bite though."
India’s cuisine may be the most enigmatic in the world. Using complex blends, the aromatic food introduces diners to exotic spices like asafetida,while making familiar flavors, like garlic, taste new. The nearly miraculous sum—which spans a robust array of vegetables, legumes, dairy products and cooking methods—is greater than its many remarkable parts, somehow avoiding ending up as a jumbled, muddled mass.
Times are tough. We're in the midst of a financial crisis that's affecting everybody’s plans for summer fun (the buzz word of the moment is "stay-cation," after all). But in times like this, giving generously brings about is own return. The people at the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra (NMSO) have made a habit of combining music, education and altruism to generate positive change in our community year after year. Now just add wine to that and you'll get Vintage Albuquerque Fine Wine and Art Auction, a multi-event benefit for NMSO's youth music education programs. Although the attendance fees are fairly steep, the money goes right back to our kids—and as many can attest, the programming is a Bacchanalian blow up.
Summertime often leaves people at a difficult crossroads: Go inside and watch a movie, or hang out in the warm outdoors? Thanks to Albuquerque’s Cultural Services Department and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, you won’t have to choose this summer. Starting Friday, June 20, the city will kick off its annual “Civic Cinema” series. Burque residents were asked to vote on which classic films they wanted to see this summer for free on Civic Plaza. The votes are in and the movies start off on a high note this weekend with Elvis Presley’s Viva Las Vegas. Upcoming films will include Vertigo (June 27), Rebel Without a Cause (July 18), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (July 25) and Young Frankenstein (Aug. 1). All movies start at approximately 8:30 p.m. at Harry E. Kinney Civic Plaza Downtown. Bring some friends, some snacks and maybe a lawn chair.
Nostalgia is a powerful tool, and it’s one of the driving forces behind the new feature film adaptation of the ’60s spy spoof TV series “Get Smart.” Rather than totally reinvent the entire show (Mission: Impossible), slavishly re-create it (The Addams Family) or completely lampoon it (The Brady Bunch Movie), the producers of this action comedy have chosen to pay tribute to the original by cramming as many in-jokes, guest cameos and familiar characters as possible. The results are far from fresh, but they are funny, fast-paced and a certified treat for longtime fans.
Once again, God bless Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block. Not only does the late-night roundup of adult-appealing shows give us endless hours of moronic entertainment, it also provides employment for dozens of men and women whose mothers drank way too much during pregnancy.
In case you didn't catch the announcement last week, the Alibi's Ridiculously Short Fiction Contest winners will be featured in next week's issue (June 26-July 2) instead of the one in your paws. We thank everyone who entered this year's contest—which was fiercely hard to judge, you silver-penned wordsmiths—and understand that waiting isn’t the fun part. We promise it will be worth the extra week of anticipation. Get those reading chairs ready.
Organizer inspired by the tragedy of a famed graffiti writer; and Verb Collective closes
By Marisa Demarco
Kids all over the country have seen Diar's work rolling down the tracks of their train yards, says Frederick Swiftbird. "Being prolific, he's painted thousands of trains, whole cars, full cars," he says.
The assignment isn't easy: Create a coherent, fully developed play adhering to a theme and lasting only 10 minutes. The task is challenging, but the Fusion Theatre Company got scripts from more than 400 people who wanted to try anyway.
In her novel The Shadow Catcher, just released in paperback, Marianne Wiggins echoes themes from her earlier work with the keen eye and sure hand of a writer at the peak of her powers. A National Book Award- and Pulitzer-finalist, Wiggins uses the enigmatic life of photographer Edward Curtis as a springboard for a layered exploration of such timeless themes as the collision of legend and reality, the intangible lure of the solitary landscape of the American West, and the complex emotional dances between fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and writers and their subjects. Blending historical biography with personal narrative, Wiggins examines how time, distance, memory and desire can alter the truth.
Indigo Girl Emily Saliers soldiers on in "the last civil rights movement." Oh, and she still writes a mean love song.
By Simon McCormack
Emily Saliers and Amy Ray have been making music together for 20-plus years as the Indigo Girls, but their partnership doesn't end there; the two have known each other since they attended the same elementary school in DeKalb County, Ga. Saliers and Ray's long kinship is especially potent when they harmonize over a bed of steady rhythms and guitar work, which coalesce into the Indigo Girls’ painstakingly crafted Southern folk-rock. Every soaring melody is laid out with precision and care, and the duo’s vocal interweavings invariably lead the way.
Tom Rice looks out at the barren parking lot of the Fairfield Marriott. He's not seeing asphalt and a couple of cars, brutal sun glinting off bumpers. He's not listening to car sounds of the nearby freeway.
The Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe is bringing back its popular ArtScreen series this summer. Every Monday--from June 16 through July 28--the CCA Cinematheque will present a different film focusing on art and artists. Subjects include the Los Angeles contemporary arts scene, Andy Warhol’s Factory, Keith Haring and Robert Mapplethorpe. Each film will be introduced by an artist or art historian. The series is unveiled this Monday with Cool School: Story of the Ferus Gallery. The film takes a look at L.A.’s seminal Ferus art gallery, which helped discover Ed Kienholz, Ed Ruscha and Robert Irwin and hosted groundbreaking shows by Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein. Tickets are $8 for members, students and seniors, $9 for nonmembers and $40 members/$45 nonmembers for a series pass good for all seven films. For a complete listing of all the films in this year’s ArtScreen, log on to ccasantafe.org.
What do you get when you cross a serious actor like Edward Norton with a summer mega-hit? Maybe "cross" isn't the the best descriptor. This Frankenstein's top half is Norton-fueled character drama, while the lower end is all CG car-tossing. The Incredible Hulk manages to keep its continuity pants on, tattered though they may become. (Speaking of pants, this flick really makes a point of exploring how the Hulk finds a way to keep them on in spite of drastic size changes.)
Harmony Korine is bat-shit insane. To use the charitable, art-world-approved term, he’s “eccentric.” Now, this character assessment is based not on personal observation, but on careful consumption of his cinematic work. From the Larry Clark-directed opuses Kids and Ken Park (both of which Korine wrote) to his full-on writing/directing efforts Gummo and Julien Donkey-Boy, Korine has demonstrated a singular talent that has inspired some to call him the freshest voice in modern indie cinema and others to label him one seriously messed-up young dude.
It’s no trade secret that CBS has long coveted the “silver hair” demographic. But seniors tuning into the Eye Network this week to catch reruns of “NCIS,” “The Ghost Whisperer” or any one of a dozen variations on “CSI” may be shocked to find the sexually promiscuous period drama “Swingtown.” Or not.
Screw Starbucks. That’s right; I said it. Granted, I’m probably the billionth person to say it, but it bears repeating again and again. As coffee shops go, Buckies has little to offer to the true java junkie. Mediocre coffee paired with packaged pastries and likewise canned service just isn’t worth your hard-earned dollars.
Food and agriculture issues don’t grab many headlines in a presidential race, but they have immense bearing on our lives. After queries to Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the Obama campaign invited me to send some questions to the new presidential Democratic nominee. Below is our e-mail exchange.
Mention “Gallo wines” at a tasting and you'll illicit a chuckle ... or something more deprecating. At a time when people sip $6 Starbucks frappuccinos and pontificate about luxury wines, there's a disconnect between the wines Americans are consuming and those they claim to consume. Have we become a nation of people so pretentious that we're lying about the wines we drink? Because, truth be told, one in every four bottles of wine consumed in the U.S. is produced by Gallo—yet nobody will fess up to drinking the stuff. Will the real Gallo consumers please stand up!
By the time a decision is made, the Church of Scientology will have been trying to occupy the Gizmo building in the heart of Downtown for about a year. "We were told we would be in the building, that it wouldn't be a problem," says lawyer David Campbell, who represents the church. Though the group has purchased the building, it's had a series of zoning hurdles to jump before it can move in.
This wasn't the kind of primary season where you could tell in advance who was going to come out lead pony. The voters spoke. Here's what they had to say about the races we covered in our primary election issue:
Several groups of citizens packed the June 2 City Council meeting. First up to bat were firefighters, who asked the Council to approve a collective bargaining agreement negotiated with the administration. The Council approved, although several councilors said they should have been consulted on any contract running three years.
Last week’s Democratic primary election results in the Bernalillo County state legislative races contained several shockers for ol’-style New Mexico political observers. Several very experienced and savvy pundits misfired badly on races in which senior, tenured lawmakers were knocked off by challengers.
Dateline: Japan—Customs officials at the Narita International Airport are looking for five ounces of marijuana that got snuck into a random passenger’s suitcase. BBC News reports a customs official hid a package of the banned substance in order to test airport security. Sniffer dogs failed to detect the cannabis and the officer could not remember which bag he had put it in. “The case was extremely regrettable. I would like to deeply apologize,” said the airport’s customs head, Manpei Tanaka. The test was conducted against regulations. Normally, a training suitcase is used. “I knew that using passengers’ bags is prohibited,” said the unnamed officer who planted the pot. “But I did it because I wanted to improve the sniffer dog’s ability.” Anyone finding the free package of dope has been asked to contact customs officials.
Speakerwaffle serves its third helping of a.m. noise this Sunday, June 15, between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Specials include Fando, Pygmy Lush, Death Convention Singers, Tideland and a tall glass of The Future of Cheerleading. Bring $5 and a box of Lucky Charms to Stove (114 Morningside NE). (LM)
All right, fiction fans. I know we said we'd run the winners of our Ridiculously Short Fiction Contest in next week's issue, June 19, but we lied. OK, we didn't really lie, we were telling the truth (to the best of our knowledge). But, like many things in the publishing world, reality has since changed. Now you'll have to wait one more week to read tiny tales about streetwalkers, sour relationships and spaceships told in 119 words or less. Use the extra week to prepare your favorite reading spot, ’cause on June 26 the best short short short stories this side of the Mississippi hit stands.
A hapless character is on a quest to find a woman who thinks the taxi-driving profession is romantic. People in the audience laugh when he says this because they’re working under the assumption that no one could ever think of taxi driving as romantic. But that’s ridiculous.