In the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration, the economic stimulus of its day, included artwork commissions. And though Hanging Tree Gallery hosts work by contemporary Albuquerque artists like Hector Morales, it also houses work by New Mexico WPA-era artists like Walter Bambrook and Ben Turner.
InterTribal Entertainment, Southern California Indian Center, Inc. and VSA Arts of New Mexico are inviting Native American storytellers to submit a 10-page screenplay in any genre that reflects the American Indian experience. The fourth annual Creative Spirit Script-To-Screen Initiative is designed to provide employment and training opportunities for American Indians in film production. Two winning 10-page scripts will be chosen by a panel of judges from the entertainment industry and the Native American community. One script will be produced and screened as part of the second annual Two Worlds Festival of Native Film and Theater in Albuquerque this September. The other script will be produced by InterTribal Entertainment in Los Angeles sometime in the fall of 2009. Visit nativefilm.com to view trailers of previous Creative Spirit productions and to download guidelines and submission forms. There is no entry fee, but scripts must be postmarked by Friday, June 26.
There are those who maintain that whole milk, gathered in the “old-fashioned” way—that is, gently hand-pulled straight from a cow’s udder and quaffed fresh from the milkmaid’s bucket—is among the most pure and genuine of food experiences. Those selfsame purists would also say that milk obtained by more modern methods—say, from an industrial milking machine on the floor of some massive factory—is more of a soulless, mechanical product. I don’t know from farms. But I do know movies. And there’s a vast difference between a tearjerker that earns its emotions in a seamless and organic manner and one that cranks up the waterworks with all the subtlety of a fireman attacking a fireplug with a monkey wrench. My Sister’s Keeper falls squarely in the latter category.
Double-featured art documentaries inform Guild Cinema this weekend
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
When one man’s wadded-up piece of paper is another man’s exhibit at the National Gallery of Art, the infinite mystery—and absurdity, perhaps—of the art world is clearly evident. Two documentaries dealing with people who penetrated, comprehended and conquered the often confusing realm of aesthetics take an artful, layman-friendly look at differentiating between what is visually ordinary and what is extraordinary.
The best science programs are the ones in which things blow up a lot and there is the distinct, recurrent possibility that someone could get hurt very badly. I can’t vouch for the fact that viewers actually learn much from these sorts of shows, but they’re definitely more entertaining than that high school science lab you had.
The drummer debuts a new CD and trio, capped by a performance by the John Proulx/Bobby Shew Quintet
By Mel Minter
Since returning to New Mexico a few years ago—and packing a résumé that includes performances with Diahann Carroll, Al Greene and Clark Terry—drummer Cal Haines has been much in demand on the jazz scene, appearing with the Alpha Cats and backing headliners at various venues in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
Nels Andrews, a favorite son abroad, revisits Albuquerque for the Old Town Americana Block Party on Friday, June 26. The free, all-ages show begins at 6 p.m. and continues with The Handsome Family at 7 p.m.
Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine is a top-ranked cage fighter [see this week’s feature]. He's also an Albuquerque resident and a foodie. And since he named Paisano’s as one of his favorite places, we met there for dinner. Joining us at the Italian restaurant were his girlfriend Jodie Esquibel—also a cage fighter who trains with Jardine at Jackson’s MMA gym—and my girlfriend Shorty, not a cage fighter.
She awoke on April 10 at 7:30 a.m. to the sound of amplifiers. "It was really shockingly loud." She looked out her back window and, as best she could over her 6-foot rear fence, saw a gathering. "I could see there were lots and lots of people behind my house in the alley."
Hakim was living on Truman just behind the Planned Parenthood on San Mateo. A temporary resident who'd moved in only a few months prior, she was surprised to see hundreds of people gathered to chant and pray.
The Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho has enough open space to let derby skaters hit each other with full force. But the cost of keeping Duke City Derby at the Star Center required the league to endure a painful financial hip-check.
Code violations at the old Westside jail prevent its use as an emergency summer sanctuary
By Marisa Demarco
Joy Junction is turning away between five and nine men every night, says Jeremy Reynalds, the shelter's founder and CEO. He says the economy is spitting out more folks than Joy Junction can take in. "We are seeing more people."
LAS CRUCES—Patience. Gov. Bill Richardson warned Southern New Mexicans they may not see immediate benefits of their $198 million spaceport investment at a pre-groundbreaking event on Thursday, June 18.
Dateline: Belgium—A teenager in Kortrijk, 56 miles northwest of Brussels, is suing a tattoo parlor after it allegedly covered her face in 56 black stars instead of the three she asked for. “I said this part, the top, is OK, but not the rest,” 18-year-old Kimberley Vlaeminck told Belgian broadcaster VRT. The tattooed teen said she “fell asleep” during the tattooing procedure and woke up to find the left side of her face covered in stars. Romanian-born Rouslan Toumaniantz, the tattoo artist who gave Vlaeminck the galaxy of stars, said Vlaeminck asked for all 56 stars and left his shop happy. “She agreed,” Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws quoted Toumaniantz as saying. “But when her father saw it, the trouble started.” Vlaeminck blames the language barrier for the mess up. She asked for the three stars in French and limited English and says Toumaniantz didn't understand her. But the tattoo artist maintains he understood her perfectly. “She asked for 56 stars and that’s what she got,” he told reporters. Vlaeminck said she wants to keep the tattoos on her forehead but will have the rest removed. She is suing Toumaniantz for 10,000 Euros ($14,000).
The fearsome threesome of Aux Dog Theatre's resident companies—Ka-HOOTZ, Sol Arts and Goodpasture—presents the Live 4 Art Festival, 10 weeks’ worth of theater wonder and goodness. The summer-long fest gets going on Friday, June 26, at 8 p.m. with a performance of Any Night Live, a series of sketches featuring the work of Ka-HOOTZ members and guests. Following the show there will be an opening night party. Also this weekend are performances of Four, a play about the collision of four lives produced by Sol Arts, on Saturday, June 27, at 8 p.m., and Art, Goodpasture's production of the Tony Award-winning play, on Sunday, June 28, at 2 p.m. If you can't make it this weekend, that's OK, because you have nine more weeks in which to do so. Wow. They really want to make sure you have no excuses. They might even give you a ride. See the complete lineup at auxdog.org.
This is a preview of LAND/ART. I state this up front simply as a foil against the gargantuan nature in describing the entire project, which includes more than 60 artists and 25 arts organizations that have filled out their summer and fall schedules with exhibitions, site-specific projects, lectures, performances, tours, poetry readings and film screenings that relate to the subject of land-based art.
At dorkbot, people are doing strange things with electricity
By Ty Bannerman
On a Sunday in late May, a handful of geeky artists and artistic geeks found their way to a dilapidated factory just north of Downtown. They settled into a spacious room for three very loosely connected presentations.
Warehouse 508 has ridden the ups and downs of the funding seesaw. The budding Downtown teen center saw its operating budget slashed by $50K and its Icehouse-rehab budget increased by $300,000 in a late-May meeting.
It’s pretty clear that our collective attention span is decreasing. The long, handwritten letters of yore that were replaced by short e-mails have in turn have been superseded by tweets. Hell, they don’t even make TV miniseries anymore.
Alibi’s pre-Pride Space Glam Dance Party in photos
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
This year the Alibi threw its first ever pre-Pride party at swanky Nob Hill cigar bar, Imbibe. The establishment, with its spacy neon lights, mod white couches, brilliant rooftop patio and permission to smoke freely, was the perfect place to stage a gay, glitter glam-themed party.
Which notable Burqueños spent the night in jail? What spicy food got recalled? How did police find a cyclist's stolen bikes? And how can you track where federal stimulus dollars are going in Albuquerque?
Illiteracy traps New Mexicans in low-paying jobs, according to one coalition working to free them
By Marisa Demarco
Gilbert Zamora was a top janitor at a school in Alamogordo. He was in charge of placing the school's orders, sometimes for textbooks. He was an older man, in his 50s or 60s. And because he couldn't read, he devised a color-coded system for doing his job. "If someone messed with his system, he was vulnerable," says Heather Heunermund, executive director of the New Mexico Coalition for Literacy (NMCL).
So we now have what's billed as the world's first Slam Poet Laureate in Danny Solis, crowned this past Saturday night, June 13, at the KiMo. Good on Danny. As a slam elder statesman, so to speak, this choice is right in the sweet spot.
Palette Contemporary Art & Craft showcases work from dozens of contemporary artists. Pieces from New Mexico artists as well as artists from across the US and around the world all call Palette home. Modernist pieces in various media, including clay, jewelry, mixed media and paintings are all represented, and highlights from abroad include paintings by Aboriginal Australian artists and a print made from a Claes Oldenburg woodcut. Especially notable is the gallery's collection of art glass, which includes intricately patterned hand-blown glass marbles that kids would probably dream about adding to their collection and that grown-ups will also find aesthetically intriguing.
So, I know you've already committed the bulk of your weekend to attending our Flash Fiction events at O'Niell's, and who can blame you? But let me suggest that you squeeze a few more arts happenings onto your social calendar. Attend these, but don't do it for me (though I'm fairly certain that’s no one's motivation to attend anything). Don't even do it for the artists; do it for Albuquerque. Because if you don't go to cool stuff, then it goes away, and all we're left with are strip mall openings and Val Kilmer sightings.
Youth Development Inc.’s Mi Voz program is a free after-school program that allows middle school students to learn “above the line” video production. That means tweens get to write, produce, direct and star in their own short video projects. The most recent season of Mi Voz just wrapped up and YDI is celebrating by screening a series of youth-made shorts. This season’s shorts center around the theme of “The Zia’s Heart” and had students finding and documenting the lives and inspirations of New Mexican artists. Musicians, painters, woodworkers and candle makers are among the people profiled in this selection of mini-documentaries. The Mi Voz screening will take place on Friday, June 19, at Wool Warehouse (516 First Street NW) beginning at 6:30 p.m. Six short films will be presented. A suggested $5 donation gets you in the door.
Little film with big names mixes comedy, drama and pregnancy
By Devin D O’Leary
Away We Go looks and feels like yet another entry in a long, unbroken line of admirably glum/funny, nerd/hipster-centric indie film dramedies (Rushmore, Roger Dodger, The Squid and the Whale, Garden State, Juno, Margot at the Wedding, Gigantic to rattle off just a few). As the film goes on, though, something starts to feel different. There’s something percolating under the surface here. Something more than just the impressive cast and witty humor in evidence. The other shoe drops when the end credits roll. (The opening credits consist solely of a title card, dropped some 10 minutes into the feature.) Amid the humble scroll of names are the identities of the director (Sam Mendes, the man behind American Beauty, Jarhead and Revolutionary Road) and the writers (Dave Eggers & Vendela Vida, sometimes referred to as “the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie of the literary world”). That’s some mighty important info to bury in the end credits.
Romcom covers familiar ground, still unearths some laughs
By Devin D. O’Leary
One of the problems with romantic comedies is the dogged death grip they maintain on genre conventions. When’s the last time you saw a romantic comedy that avoided the “meet cute,” the “big lie” and the “climactic race to the airport for last-minute reconciliation”? Sometimes it makes me wonder if When Harry Met Sally ... is the only romantic comedy to ever actually get things right. Apparently, somebody broke that particular mold back in 1989, because we’ve been stuck with Maid in Manhattan/Made of Honor crapola ever since.
“Tosh.0” on Comedy Central, “Web Soup” on G4, “DJ & The Fro” on MTV
By Devin D. O’Leary
You know all those wacky viral videos your friends cop off the Internet and e-mail to you at work? Wouldn’t it be great to watch those again in the comfort of your own living room? ... What do you mean, “Not really?” That’s not the answer TV wants to hear right now. Realizing they’re free and plentiful, networks are cooking up a whole mess of shows featuring those short cellphone clips of people getting racked in the roundberries, puking up improper food products and doing weird things on foreign TV game shows.
Two musical masters serve the single purpose of peace
By Mel Minter
Though rooted in two different cultures, Iraqi oudist Rahim AlHaj and Indian sarodist Ustad Amjad Ali Khan have each flourished under the same sun: the belief that music is a singularly uniting art form that can transform the world for the better.
Usually, drunken ideas only sound brilliant while you're sloshed.
Max Moulton and three of his friends from Dixon beat the odds and came up with a solid idea for a music festival while blitzed. "Alcohol was kind of the catalyst," Moulton recalls. "Booze cures all."
That was three years ago. Since then, there have been two installments of their Kannaroo music festival in Sunshine Valley, situated just north of Questa. The third Kannaroo features 12 bands from New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, a guitar shred-off competition and an improperly sized volleyball game.
For budget-minded travelers, especially during a recession, vacations to far-off destinations are out of the question. But that doesn't mean you have to spend the summer next to a kiddie pool in the baking confines of your backyard.
Mexico is so large and diverse that “Mexican food” doesn’t actually say much. When you see the word “mariscos” attached to a Mexican restaurant, you can expect a focus on seafood; but with thousands of miles of Mexican coastline, even mariscos leaves quite a few unanswered questions. Las Islitas, for its part, has staked claim to the cuisine of the central Pacific state of Nayarit.
The gallery at OFFCenter Community Arts Project (808 Park Ave. SW) is a single wall, but what's significant is that the work on this wall is created in the room the art overlooks. "In short, our mission is to build community through art making," says Ron Breen, Interim Director. The gallery hosts six to eight exhibits a year. "The shows are non-juried," says Breen, "We want to focus on encouraging people to create art rather than qualifying it."
It looked like every point was going to come at a punishing price.
In the early minutes, Duke City's Muñecas Muertas and the Dallas Derby Devils were locked in a defensive, hard-hitting bout at the Santa Ana Star Center. Then Muñecas’ star jammer Muffin drew first blood.
She tore through the wall of Derby Devils and racked up big points, giving the Muñecas an early 28-18 point lead. Her jam demonstrated that the Dallas defense was penetrable. "If you can go in and prove that scoring is possible, it's important," Muffin explained after the match.
One high school senior bolsters pride and acceptance in fellow LGBT youth
By Sarah M. Kramer
There's a parallel between Ruben Ortega's gay rights activism and his career goals—though it might not be readily obvious. When he starts at Cornell University in the fall, he wants to study hospitality administration. "I want to focus on real estate and project development, and opening hotels," Ortega says.
Dateline: Guinea—Overwhelmed by criminal behavior, law enforcement officials in the coastal African nation of Guinea are encouraging citizens to burn any suspected criminals alive. Speaking in the capital city of Conakry last Tuesday, the new military government’s anticrime chief, Captain Moussa Tiegboro Camara, told citizens, “I’m asking you to burn all armed bandits who are caught red-handed committing an armed robbery.” Camara went on to say, “The prisons are full and cannot take more people, and the situation cannot continue like that.” Camara, who was appointed by the military junta to oversee the fight against drugs and serious crime, made his comments at a meeting of city officials. “These measures worry us,” Thierno Maadjou Sow, president of the Guinean Organization of Human Rights, told Reuters news service. “The law of the country must not be bypassed, whatever the circumstances.” The National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD) seized power in Guinea, the world’s largest exporter of bauxite, last December after long-serving President Lansana Conte died.
You may be experiencing an electric charge in the air. And no, it's not from an electro-particle buildup in the ionosphere (which I'm fairly certain I heard about on a "Star Trek: TNG" episode). No, my friends, science can't explain it for you this time because it comes from something deeper. Something called love. Love for glitzy parades, fabulous parties and more rainbows than a Lucky Charms factory in Oz. It's Pride time!
In literature, focusing on the work of any one group of people has inherent dangers. Though it can shine a spotlight on underrepresented writers, this attention can also have the unintended consequence of limiting the significance of their work. Putting Jane Austen in the box of "Women Writers" and Richard Wright in the "African-American Author" box can obfuscate the important fact that they are two of the greatest writers in the English language, including all the white guys.
Yjastros Flamenco Repertory Company presents Blanco, Rojo y Negro
By Sarah M. Kramer
The centuries-old flamenco tradition hits another milestone in Albuquerque. Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company celebrates its 20th anniversary with an endurance test of sorts. The company will perform its entire repertory in a single weekend in three shows collectively called Blanco, Rojo y Negro.
The New Mexico Film Office has announced the winners of the 2009 New Mexico Filmmakers Showcase, which took place at the Guild Cinema May 14 through 17. After four days’ worth of New Mexico-only films, the judges chose the following category toppers: Best Comedy Short went to Christopher Boone’s “Preschool’s a Bit**,” Best Documentary Short went to Jessie Weahkee’s “Abraham Lincoln: The One Sided Story,” Best Documentary Feature went to Michelle Friedline & Laureen Ricks’ A Sh’mal World, Best Drama Short went to Craig Strong’s “In the Wake,” Best Drama Feature went to Michael Amundsen’s The Price of the American Dream II, Best Horror/Sci-Fi went to Kim Liphardt’s “The Sitter” and Best Wildcard Film went to Bryan Konefsky’s “Vancouver.” Congrats to the winners and to all of this year’s participants. Keep up the good work.
Stark historical drama examines the details of one man’s death
By Devin D. O’Leary
Hunger—the new drama about noted IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands—begins, interestingly enough, with a man who is not Bobby Sands. He’s an ordinary family man, seemingly under a great deal of stress, getting ready for work. As it turns out, he’s a guard at Maze Prison in Northern Ireland. It is at this prison that a number of Irish Republican Army “terrorists” are incarcerated—among them, the as-yet-undistinguished Bobby Sands. The film is in no real hurry to get where we know it’s going, but it does eventually cede the spotlight to Sands (played with Herculean commitment by Michael Fassbender). This is a movie about Sands—specifically the last six weeks of Sands’ life. It is not a movie about a prison guard. But he’s there at the beginning, one of the countless people who must have interacted with Sands before his premature death. He’s there because Hunger is interested in details, turning the smallest of gestures, actions and words into moments of soul-rattling import. When Sands and our unnamed prison guard do eventually cross paths (a situation that doesn’t come until quite a bit later in the film), the simple “punch line” of this supporting character hits with brutal intensity. In this one moment, we see that no single person is innocent, guilty, good or evil—but all are damned just the same.
Broadway doc is one singular sensation. (Man, you could repeat these lyrics all day.)
By Devin D. O’Leary
When you think about it, Every Little Step is a mind-bendingly meta experience. On its surface, it’s a simple, straightforward documentary that offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the casting of a big Broadway musical. And what musical would that be? A Chorus Line. Sounds familiar. What’s that about? Well, A Chorus Line offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the casting of a big Broadway musical.
What TV needs now are more attractive psychic crimesolvers and more crusading nurses. Oh, and more Octomom coverage. While I can’t yet guarantee the first and third (although I’d pretty much bet the house on it), I can assure readers that they’ll be getting more hospital-based drama and romance courtesy of TNT’s new series “HawthorRNe.”
On Friday, June 26, the Akon Freedom Fest sets off an explosive lineup of R&B/rap chart-toppers at the Journal Pavilion. Headlining is club-banging, Senegalese-styled Akon, who also gets paid for producing hits like Gwen Stefani's sugary "The Sweet Escape." (He threw in the frisbee-like "Who hoo! Yee who!" choruses). The bill gets harder as Plies, Fat Joe, Lil' Jon, the Ying Yang Twins, Multi and Jotorious stalk the stage, with L.D. the Mash-Up King representing Albuquerque's hefty endowment of DJ talent. It's shaping up as the summer concert to beat.
Women’s Voices concerts light up the Albuquerque Museum
By Mel Minter
At the 2008 edition of the Women’s Voices concerts, a perennial favorite presented by the New Mexico Jazz Workshop, what was happening offstage was almost as entertaining as what was happening onstage. Down front, audience left, a lively gaggle of divas who had already performed or were awaiting their turn watched their sisters onstage with genuine pride and delight, whooping it up in support.
Just a few miles north of Albuquerque, Placitas is an eclectic and beautiful village with a storied past. The one-time land grant area is now a bedroom community, the bar where the Dead once played is closed and the hippies have given way to artists. But through the years, the one thing that has eluded this funky town is a good restaurant.
This is undoubtedly the only recipe we have ever developed with a church potluck—the annual fundraiser for friend's mom's congregation—in mind. Next time we plan on whipping it up with wild white sage. Besides cleaning a room of evil spirits and reducing swelling, it tastes badass. In the meantime, green sage will work just fine.