Alibi Volume 19, Number 03
January 21, 2010
Big butts and bigger problems: Healthy People 2020
So here we are in January 2010, conscious of the fact that our middle-aged little planet has managed to complete one more twirl around its rather ordinary star. For many, just reflecting on the nature of time can generate enough anxiety to fuel at least one or two New Year’s pledges.
The science of sticking to it
We all know of at least one horribly annoying overachiever who accomplishes every goal she sets for herself. She’s run countless marathons, clocked in hours of volunteer work with Guatemalan orphans, and obtained dual doctoral degrees in music performance (she plays cello) and mathematics (her dissertation on four-dimensional fractals sent shock waves through the mathematical community). She doesn’t eat meat or carbohydrates and her French is impeccable. She’s really nice. She leaves you no option but to hate her.
Veterans discuss PTSD and the suicide of a brother in arms
Joseph Callan was shocked and saddened when he heard about the Jan. 13 death of Iraq veteran Kenneth Ellis III. And he was angry.
It's that time again. Our legislators made their way to the Roundhouse for a 30-day session that began Tuesday, Jan. 19. It's a short one, and they have to find a way to tame a gnarly budget. It's likely the cash shortfall will eat up most of their time and attention this year. Here's a look at that issue and some of the other measures on the Legislature’s plate in 2010.
Every morning for the past few months I’ve washed my hands with a small bar of clear soap. Embedded in the cleanser is a miniature of the now-iconic blue-and-red silkscreened portrait of President Barack Obama. Surrounding his serious visage staring resolutely into the future are the words: “The Audacity of Soap.”
Dateline: Sweden—For a group of dieters in south-central Sweden, the shedding of the pounds didn’t come quick enough. The floor of a Weight Watchers clinic in the town of Växjö collapsed last Wednesday night after a group of about 20 program participants gathered to record their weight loss. “We suddenly heard a huge thud. We almost thought it was an earthquake and everything flew up in the air. The floor collapsed in one corner of the room and along the walls,” one of the participants told the Smålandsposten newspaper. After the initial collapse, the floor started to give way in other parts of the room. The participants quickly evacuated as the smell of sewage started to fill the room. “We’re going to have to find a replacement premises,” Weight Watchers consultant Therese Levin told the newspaper. The dieters, who were unharmed in the incident, ended up weighing themselves in a hallway outside the collapsed room.
Last March, local Albuquerque filmmaker/actor Billy Garberina (director and star of Necroville and featured actor in indie films like The Stink of Flesh, Feeding the Masses, Gimme Skelter, Wet Heat, Psycho Holocaust, Ski Wolf and Deathbone) was named Scary Stud of the Month by Pretty-Scary.net (the website “for women in horror, by women in horror”). The site summed up Garberina’s elusive appeal thusly: “If Eric Stolz and Kevin Bacon were gay and had a genetically engineered child using both of their DNA with which to share their love, but that child ended up straight and his name was Billy Garberina, then Billy Garberina would be a lot like that kid except probably way less rich.” Who can argue? Now Garberina is locked in a fierce battle for Pretty Scary’s 2009 Scary Stud of the Year. He’s got some stiff competition, going up against guys like Mike J. Nelson (“Mystery Science Theater 3000”), Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day), Eli Roth (Inglourious Basterds) and Corin Nemec (Mansquito). He’s stayed near the top of the list, but he needs a little more help to guarantee a victory. Show your love for the local boy by logging on to Pretty-Scary.net and voting for him. You have until Jan. 31!
An actor learns to love his scary debut
At age 10, wide-eyed Salt Lake City actor Michael Stephenson got what he thought was his big break. He landed the lead role in a major horror film. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out quite the way he planned. Little did Stephenson know he was signing on to star in what would eventually be dubbed “the best worst movie ever made.” Years later, sitting in his Hollywood office and looking back on the bizarre phenomenon that is Troll 2, Stephenson can’t help but laugh. How could you not?
Swedish director takes us on a guilt trip around the world
Like Crash or Babel, Swedish filmmaker Lukas Moodysson’s Mammoth employs a polyglot cast, a wide-ranging backdrop and assorted convergent storylines to ruminate on the sad state of interpersonal politics—in this case, modern parenthood and the worldwide socioeconomic factors that affect it both positively and negatively. I know. That sounds painfully weighty. But it’s not. Well, not entirely. For starters, Mammoth is stocked with roughly 175 percent less sledgehammer morality than Paul Haggis and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s heavy-handed (and undeservedly Oscar-winning) parables.
Late night edition
In last week’s column, I casually mentioned that “The Jay Leno Show” would kill network television. Fortunately, NBC plunged a stake into its heart before it could do any more damage. Now what? Will the post-prime-time airwaves become a desolate hellscape in which men battle one another in a winner-take-all competition for pop cultural supremacy? Likelihood: probable.
The Week in Sloth
When it rains it pours. And sometimes it rains men. (Hallelujah!) You might notice this week's section is a little gayer than usual and that's partially because both Venus DeMars and Hunx are gracing Albuquerque with their fabulous presences this week. On top of that, I was introduced to a mind-blowing hip-hop jam genre: sissy bounce (see more in Sonic Reducer). Bounce music—a filthy, dirty New Orleans-born rap style that's heavy on call-and-response—has been around since the early '90s and many of its faces happen to be gay. Top underground acts include transsexual rapper Katey Red, as well as Sissy Nobby and Big Freedia. This is not to say that bounce isn't hetero—Juvenile's "Back That Ass Up" is the genre's big hit, for example. For all things bounce, go to nolabounce.com. For all things gay and hip-hop take a spin around gayhiphop.com.
Venus DeMars and All The Pretty Horses complete a trio of Venuses
Motoring around the country in a vinyl-packed 1984 Chevy art van called "The Black Pearl," between shows in Wichita and Phoenix, Minneapolis' Venus DeMars and All the Pretty Horses passed through Albuquerque. Luckily, the travelers made a stop at Alibi headquarters. For 15 years DeMars has been performing in the theatrical style of '70s Bowie-esque glam merged with early '80s Batcave—a combination otherwise deemed "dark glam.” A commanding, leather-clad transgender singer, guitar player, artist, DJ and opera fan, DeMars and her band (completed by LeFreak on bass and T-Rev on drums) are in the midst of a 14-day, six-show vacation and spiritual journey.
Friday Night Jazz gets a makeover at Scalo Il Bar
Nature abhors a vacuum, as the maxim says, and so apparently does the stage at Scalo Il Bar. Every Friday night for several years now, you could depend on finding pianist Stu MacAskie’s trio, with bassist Michael Glynn and drummer Cal Haines, swinging away, house band to the bubbling conviviality. With MacAskie’s departure for points Far East last month, several jazz groups have been sucked into the void he left and will rotate through on Friday nights.
Hunx + The Punkettes
If you happen to watch the Style Network, there’s a chance you might have caught an episode of the reality show “Split Ends.” The show’s premise is that two hair stylists with opposite aesthetics do a salon switcheroo for a week. On one episode, Seth Bogart, owner of Down at Lulu’s—an Oakland salon and vintage store—is sent to the affluent Florida town of Cocoa Beach, a place crawling with vapid people and conspicuous consumption. Meanwhile, a flamboyant Latin homo named Martin Ormaza is forced to exist amongst Oakland hipsters. The episode, while silly, is excellent watching due to Bogart’s fun persona. To the horror of the snooty Florida salon staff, Bogart shows up looking freaky in clown bows and gold lamé. I won’t spoil the rest of the show in case you want to watch.
How hard is it to look at this flyer without an 8-bit tune manifesting in your head like it’s the ’80s and a younger you is in the midst of a restless, Nintendo dream-pestered slumber? Must. Save. The Princess.
At the time of this writing, the full devastation wreaked by the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti is not yet known. What is clear is that, at a minimum, tens of thousands of people have lost their lives in the initial destruction. I say initial because, inevitably, more will pass due to starvation, infection and disease in the days and weeks to come. Though no place can be fully prepared for a cataclysm of this proportion, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and much of its infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed.
Womensworx at The Vortex Theatre
Last year The Vortex Theatre put out a nationwide call for short plays for a brand-new festival called Womensworx, which would feature only pieces both written and directed by women. It received 186 submissions and culled eight winners from the pile, with playwrights from seven states (Virginia, California, Massachusetts, Indiana, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico). At the end of the festival’s four-week run, two plays will receive honorariums, one for being an audience favorite (you get to vote) and another for winning the hearts of a panel of judges.
Sometimes we have a helluva time trying to keep fresh herbs from the ravishes of death—by waterlog, freezer-burn or simply old age. We profess a tendency to neglect them in the fridge until it's almost too late.
My, how I do like them oysters
Downtown's newly opened Hotel Andaluz seems like it was designed to make you feel cool. As we walked through the lobby en route to Lucia, the hotel’s restaurant, the lobby nearly pulled us off course. Semiprivate cubicles with translucent curtains and lushly pillowed couches occupy the south wall, each with its own theme. (One cubicle is adorned with epiphytes and bamboo. Another sports a mother of pearl waterfall.) In the center of the lobby, a fountain is surrounded by an array of couches and coffee tables. As we walked through, groovy jazz-tronica music gently filled the room. There’s even a separate lobby menu, prepared in the Lucia kitchen, but we stayed the course and sat at a table inside the restaurant.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Philosopher David Pearce is committed to the abolition of suffering. While he acknowledges that we've got a long way to go before accomplishing that goal, he believes it's possible, mostly with the help of technology. More than two millennia ago, Buddha also articulated a vision for the cessation of suffering. His methods revolve around psychological and spiritual work. In light of your current astrological omens, Aries, I think it's an excellent time to contribute to this noble enterprise. Your level of suffering is rather low these days, which could give you a natural boost if you set in motion some long-term strategies for reducing the pain that you experience and the pain that you cause.