Dust off your marigold headdresses, friends: It's Día de los Muertos time. Different than Halloween (haunty) and All Saints' Day (reverent), the Day of the Dead honors the memories of loved ones who have passed with ofrendas (altars), sugar skulls, parades, and a sense that, while sad, death is inevitable and not to be feared.
Hurry up and get your shorts off ... to the Taos Shortz Film Festival, that is. (Heh, heh. Who doesn’t love a lame pun?) The third annual Taos Shortz Film Fest promises to showcase the hottest short films in the Southwest. This coming Sunday, Nov. 1, is the early bird deadline. Get your short film submission in by this weekend and you’ll only have to fork over a $17 entry fee. If you can’t get your work together by then, you have until Dec. 1. Programmers are looking for films between 3 and 28 minutes in the following categories: Comedy, Drama, Documentary, Animation and Experimental. For a complete list of rules, regulations and submission forms, log on to www.taosshortz.com. The festival is scheduled to take place Feb. 5 to 7, 2010.
Obsessive indie comedy explores dark side of fandom
By Devin D. O’Leary
Listen to enough sports radio and you’ll get the idea that professional sports aren’t mere recreational distractions. There’re not just regional pissing contests, either. For many adults, professional sports are a full-blown obsession. After all, would a truly sane person smear his body with purple and yellow paint and then stand, half-naked, in a Minneapolis football stadium in 13 degree weather? Big Fan, a black comedy collusion between underappreciated comedian Patton Oswalt and up-and-coming screenwriter-turned-director Robert D. Siegel, takes this idea to its natural extreme: What if you crossed “The Jim Rome Show” with Taxi Driver?
Fashion icon biopic looks fabulous but hangs kinda funny
By Devin D. O’Leary
As the title clearly indicates, the Gallic import Coco Before Chanel explores the life of fashion maven Coco Chanel before she changed her name, became famous and started pasting her initials all over expensive handbags. While bolstered by the magnetic central performance of the always-charming Audrey Tautou (Amélie) and some damn fine period re-creation, Coco Before Chanel is also restrained by slow pacing and a general lack of drama. To put it in fashion terms, the details are stunning, but the overall shape is somewhat lacking.
On the surface, this Halloween’s TV schedule looks decidedly un-scary. There’s plenty of college football and major league baseball on the broadcast networks, but that hardly gets you in the holiday spirit. So if you wanna spend all day watching TV and still feel like you’re participating in the holiday, you’re going to have to dig deep.
An international trip, right down to the exchange rate
By Ari LeVaux
Tapas, Spanish for “snacks you eat before or after a night of partying” (or simply “appetizers” for short), have become wildly popular left of the Atlantic in recent years. While the chance to mix it up with several dishes sounds yummy enough, tapas eateries—and their customers—have had to struggle with an obvious flaw: You can end up getting less food per dollar than with full-sized portions.
Local military religious freedom activist nominated for 2010 Nobel
By Marisa Demarco
Mikey Weinstein won the Linda K. Estes Giraffe Award, given to honor those who stick their necks out for their beliefs. Born and raised in Albuquerque, Weinstein was thrilled to receive the local prize, named for the former UNM coach who fought for women's equality. On Sept. 17, he attended a gala reception to accept his Giraffe.
The mission of the International Gay Rodeo Association is to promote the LGBT country-Western lifestyle. “It is a huge surprise to many that the gay community is involved in rodeo, but this being America and the fact that all of us are intrigued with our Western heritage, it only adds to the reality ‘We are everywhere!’ ” the association writes on its website.
Dateline Hungary—The entire 15-man police force in the town of Budaörs resigned last Tuesday after they landed the sole winning jackpot ticket in the country’s national lottery. According to London’s Daily Telegraph, the $16.5 million jackpot is the sixth biggest win in Hungarian lottery history. Police chiefs have scrambled to send backup units to the region, located just outside the Budapest metropolitan area, until more full-time officers can be recruited.
The Fire Halloween Vampire Ball is just for female neck-nibblers over the age of 21. Come out of your coffins and dance to DJs Anita, Nicolatron and Ginger, and get glamoured by live performances from the ABQ Kings Club and Consuelo Wind. Doors at El Rey Theater (620 Central SW) creak open at 8 p.m. $10 limited advance tickets at firewomyn.com. (Laura Marrich)
Albuquerque Now is to our art scene what a telescope is to the moon: By focusing in on an exceptional fragment, we are better able to understand the beauty of the whole. The show, up now at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, displays dozens of locally crafted works in a stunning representation of our creative community, its diversity and its talent.
Earlier this year the Rio Grande became a water lifeline for everyone living in the Albuquerque metro area. The San Juan-Chama Drinking Water Project is intended to help alleviate the accelerating drain of the aquifer under the city. The water sources are blended together in the city’s reservoir tanks and sent out in hundreds of miles of pipes to a faucet near you.
Composer, writer, turntablist and conceptual artist Paul D. Miller, otherwise known as DJ Spooky, traveled to Antarctica with a studio in tow. There he visited barren ice fields in an attempt to explore the hidden connections between sound and the environment. From this frosty experiment, a large-scale multimedia performance piece called Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica was born. The visual and sonic portrait of that continent includes video projections, turntables and a DJ Spooky-composed score performed by local chamber musicians. He brings the performance to the KiMo Theatre this week as part of the LAND/ART project. In preparation for Miller's New Mexico visit, we conducted the following e-mail communiqué.
It wasn’t the usual championship match. Still, the finale on Sunday, Oct. 18, offered promise for seasons to come. All the skaters wanted in on the last 2009 game, part of the Rock the Ink tattoo fest at the Convention Center. So instead of pitting any of the league’s four teams against each other, Duke City Derby created two new squads, which allowed all the derby girls to roll in. On that fateful day, team Good triumphed over Evil, 85-62.
There are a several things people can do to keep fecal matter and pharmaceuticals out of the surface, ground and river water. (Read the full story on recent discoveries in Albuquerque’s drinking water here).
Councilors had barely sat down when they were hit with bad news at their Monday, Oct. 19 meeting. Financial staff said the city is looking at a $12 million shortfall for the 2010 budget due to falling sales tax income and other revenues. The Council was told not to look to the Legislature for help because there just isn’t any money there, either. Come Dec. 1, when Mayor-Elect Richard Berry and the new Council take over, there will not be much of a honeymoon.
The morning after the municipal elections, as I was removing droopy “Romero for Mayor” signs from my front lawn while a steady drizzle soaked my jacket into a leaden metaphor for my soggy spirit, I got a cell phone call from a friend (actually, now a former friend) who was calling just to berate me.
Dateline: Gaza Strip—Two zebras at Gaza’s city zoo died of hunger earlier this year when they were neglected during a flare-up in the Israel-Hamas conflict, but they’ve finally been replaced—by a pair of painted donkeys. New zebras would have cost the zoo $40,000 apiece, so zookeepers simply used masking tape and women’s hair dye to paint stripes on two female donkeys. Zoo officials said the high cost of the animals was due largely to import restrictions placed by the Israelis. In addition to the two “zebras,” the zoo boasts an aging tiger, two monkeys, and an assortment of birds, rabbits and cats.
The VSA North Fourth Arts Center (4904 Fourth Street NW) brings southern Africa to Albuquerque with Global DanceFest / JourneysAFRICA, Oct. 23 through Oct. 31. Since 2001, Global DanceFest has hosted groundbreaking contemporary dance from around the world, incorporating into the experience film, gallery exhibits and discussion. There's a lot to enjoy, so hang on to your unitard.
Impressions of Cuban culture are typically confined to two extremes—an island dystopia vs. an idyllic people frozen in time. The exhibition Confluencias: Inside Arte Cubano Contemporáneo, now at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, challenges these notions by peeling back the protective coating to offer a rare glimpse of contemporary Cuban art. The exhibition brings together the work of 40 artists who are creating within Cuba, employing an array of media and themes.
When asking for help in deciding between dishes, I’m sometimes skeptical if my server recommends the more expensive option. But the other day at Annapurna’s new North Valley satellite, I received some advice I just couldn’t question.
Let Me In, the American remake of the Swedish vampire flick Let the Right One In,is gearing up to film right here in New Mexico. While I’m awfully mixed on the idea of a remake, I’m excited it’s happening in New Mexico. The story of a bullied young boy who befriends the little vampire girl next door is being directed by Matt Reeves (who gave us the monster romp Cloverfield). Casting agents are looking for children ages 8 to 18 in Los Alamos, Taos and Albuquerque. The two main roles are already filled by Kodi Smit-McPhee (from the upcoming film The Road) and Chloe Moretz (who appeared in (500) Days of Summer), but there are plenty of other roles to cover. If you’re interesting in getting your offspring involved, please register with Elizabeth Gabel online at egcasting.com or call 967-9533.
Japan’s favorite robot kid flies, but doesn’t soar, in Americanized version
By Devin D. O’Leary
It seems odd, in such a rabidly anime- and manga-literate culture—where practically every new pop-culture entry is stumbling over itself to emulate the style found in Japanese cartoons and comics—that we’d need such a watered-down, Americanized version of a Japanese classic like Astro Boy. But that’s exactly what Imagi Animation Studios, the folks behind the 2007 CGI version of TMNT, thought.
Kids these days are under a lot of pressure. There’s the pressure to excel in school, even at a young age. There’s the added responsibility of organized sports. There’s the fact that many kids are now growing up in broken homes. There’s the continuing pop-cultural lure of sex and drugs. And if 30 years’ worth of PSAs are to be believed, there’s an awful lot of peer pressure exerted on young people to smoke cigarettes. Imagine, then, that you’re a 3-year-old Nepalese tyke who’s just been fingered as the reincarnation of recently deceased 84-year-old Buddhist master Geshe Lama Konchog. No pressure or anything, kid, but pack up your stuff—you’ve got a 1,000-year mission of peace and enlightenment to get cracking on.
“Batman: The Brave and the Bold” on Cartoon Network
By Devin D. O’Leary
A certain percentage of the fanboy population has dismissed Cartoon Network’s “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” as a too-cartoony take on the Dark Knight Detective’s adventures. Haters may be eating their words after this weekend, however, when the show gets a healthy injection of awesome in the form of Neil Patrick Harris.
For more than a decade, Tuesday nights at the Heights Community Center (823 Buena Vista SE, southwest of Yale and Coal) have been Albuquerque's haven for swing dancing and the hopped-up, vintage music that compels it.
Rarely do face paint and hardcore rap seamlessly fit together, but for Kansas City’s Tech N9ne, it’s been his steez for the past two decades. The self-proclaimed “weirdo rapper” deals in fallen angels and other dark material that places him worlds apart from other MCs. It’s not all about bling, bitches or Bentleys—he rhymes like he’s narrating a horror film. Tech’s style murders the competition by combining wicked, tricky wordplay, melodic hooks and incredibly speedy rap. But the most impressive thing about Tech N9ne isn’t his music—it’s his work ethic.
In many ways, Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex epitomizes the Ancient Greek tragedy. The narrative is framed by prophecy; poetic priests foreshadow and omniscient oracles foretell each ruinous event. Past and present collide with catastrophic consequences, raising the eternal question: Is the individual ruled by fate or freewill? (The Ancients seem deleteriously attached to the power of the former.) A chorus of citizens speculates incessantly, often in echo of the audience’s observations.
The results of the Alibi's fourth annual Scavenger Hunt
By Christie Chisholm
Zuri and Nancy Bennett combed our city for three days, enlisting the help of neighbors, friends and random shopkeepers. They drove to Corrales twice, to the top of the Tram, to the city dump. Team Bennett found the first bomb shelter built in New Mexico, snapped photos with a drag king and caught a martial arts class in session. They found all manner of livestock.
On Friday, Oct. 16, the Lomas Tramway Library (908 Eastridge NE) will host a Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Celebration. Dress up as your favorite Oz character (the L. Frank Baum fantasy novel, not the HBO prison series) and show up to the library at 6 p.m. There will be “Emerald City” refreshments and a screening of the 70th anniversary edition of the classic Hollywood film. This is an all-ages family event, but seating is limited. Call in advance to reserve your space: 291-6295.
Fearless fantasy captures the imagination as well as the emotion of being a child
By Devin D. O’Leary
Where the Wild Things Are is the first kid-oriented film to come out of Hollywood in a great while that doesn’t begin with a voice-over narration. That might not seem like a very big deal, but I assure you it is. Almost every film aimed anywhere under the 18-to-49 demographic begins with a voice-over explaining the entire upcoming situation to kids. Where the Wild Things Are doesn’t. It just starts.
Inspirational documentary gives us a history of the environmental movement and cleans up after itself
By Devin D. O’Leary
Award-winning documentary filmmaker Robert Stone (Radio Bikini, American Babylon, Neverland: The Rise and Fall of the Symbionese Liberation Army, Oswald’s Ghost) takes a contemplative look at the birth of the modern environmental movement here in America with his optimistic, easy-to-watch new eco-doc Earth Days.
On the list of lame network executive ideas for new shows—hovering just below “How about a rip-off of some other network’s reality show?” and “Can’t we just do another ‘CSI’ spinoff?”—comes this increasingly popular suggestion: “What if we buy some cheap web series and broadcast that?” While Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block has milked a few weeks’ laughs out of stuff like “Fat Guy Stuck in Internet,” most Internet-to-network translations have gone the way of NBC’s notorious 2006 outing “quarterlife.” One airing and that’s the last anyone ever heard of that particular meme.
More than 10 years ago brothers Matt and Chris Dickens began what became a very popular, sometimes adored and sometimes notorious club night at Burt's Tiki Lounge. Thursdays, once reportedly dominated by electronica and ’80s pop, became a dance party based around British music, made for and by music lovers.
DJ Codebreaka, Mantis Fist, Solar 1 & MIC Raw, Zack Freeman & The Mundane Cliches, Government Cheese and Witchdokta Projeckt get live on Saturday, Oct. 17, and don’t stop the hip-hop until it’s Sunday morning. 9 p.m. at Atomic Cantina (315 Gold SW, free, 21+). (Laura Marrich)
Ben Miller sent five separate entries to the Sam Adams LongShot competition, each of them brewed in a kit he built himself (including a keg with its top sawed off). Miller took great pains to package the beer, enveloping individual bottles in bubble wrap and then in a Ziploc bag. If postal workers noticed a leak, they would trash the entire package.
New Mexicans join the national march for LGBT rights
By Maren Tarro
WASHINGTON, D.C.—They voted for change when they voted for Obama. Now, the LGBT community is making its growing impatience with the president heard. But calling for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act weren't the only reasons tens of thousands gathered in D.C. to put pressure on Washington. Unlike previous gay rights marches, the National Equality March on Oct. 10 and 11 was largely a grassroots effort, perhaps signaling a change in how the community—specifically the younger generation—will tackle equality issues.
Wait, wait, don't tell me. Something hot and spicy—green chile chicken enchiladas, perhaps, or, in far fewer cases, a tostada compuesta. (Furrows brow, scratches head, takes bite of sexy menudo, puzzles over six years of Albuquerque the Magazine asking "hot singles" to compare an imagined ideal lover to our regional foodstuffs. Sighs.)
An empty chair stood where outgoing City Councilor Michael Cadigan should have been during the Wednesday, Oct. 7 Council meeting. Cadigan took a thrashing from political newcomer Dan Lewis the day before, losing his Westside seat in the municipal election. The Build Unser Road Now group complained his absence meant the road project Cadigan championed is now dead.
Dateline: Afghanistan—A young girl became the first fatality in her country’s ongoing propaganda war when a crate containing public information leaflets fell on her. The crate was dropped from a British RAF transport aircraft over Helmand province on June 23. The crew of the RAF C-130 Hercules had been flying over rural parts of the province to try to reach local people with a leaflet campaign. The boxes of leaflets are supposed to open in midair, scattering the literature over a wide area. “But on this occasion, one of the boxes failed to open, and the young girl was hit,” an official with the U.K. Ministry of Defence admitted last week. The Ministry called the incident “highly regrettable” and is investigating. MoD officials weren’t sure what type of leaflets were involved, but typical topics include basic safety warnings about improvised explosive devices and “land mine awareness.”
Anyone who's ever been in any kind of human relationship with anyone knows that compromise is key. Whether it's eating at a home-style buffet that closes by 5 p.m. because that's where Grandma wants to go or sitting through your best friend's mime punk band / drum circle, we all do things we may not want to out of love. Sometimes, though, it works out so that everyone gets what they want.
I first noticed Japengo Sushi while eating dessert at the neighboring Café Jean Pierre. As I sipped my coffee I watched the great chef Jean-Pierre dash from his just-closed kitchen and out the restaurant’s door, returning moments later with a plate of sushi. This quiet endorsement spoke louder than words.