Though the official holiday is still a bit down the road, there's no denying that Valentine's Day is in the air. Retailers have broken out their sign-holding cupids, romantics are making reservations and the cynical are busy thinking about the perfect counterpoint to V-Day's saccharine saturation (my fave activity is watching a Leprechaun marathon and eating vegetarian pigs in a blanket while wearing sackcloth). But Valentine's Day also provides us with a perfect opportunity to demonstrate a larger kind of love for all humans. OK, most humans; let's not get carried away.
Sneaky politicians, torch-wielding vigilantes and the embattled future of Albuquerque—will history repeat itself?
By Ty Bannerman
There seems little possibility that Valle de Atrisco will rise from the ashes of January’s catastrophic election day. Residents of the unincorporated portion of Bernalillo County known as the South Valley were given the opportunity to vote on whether their largely rural community should form a new town known as Valle de Atrisco. The proposal was soundly defeated by 93 percent.
The third annual Taos Shortz Film Festival takes place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 5 through 7, at the Best Western Kachina Lodge up in Taos. There are five separate short film blocks screening Friday and Saturday. The weekend gets topped off by an awards ceremony on Sunday. More than 50 short films from New Mexico and beyond will be featured. There’s no overriding theme to the shorts blocks, but they are helpfully separated into ones reserved for mature audiences, ones in which parental guidance is suggested and ones to which kids of all ages are welcome. Individual tickets and all-event passes are available through the festival’s website at taosshortz.com.
The end is nigh! Maybe. Probably. Possibly. ... Or not.
By Devin D. O’Leary
Lurking somewhere between the far-from-overlapping worlds of mesmerizing monologuist Spalding Gray and nutty Internet conspiracy monger Jeff Rense is Michael Ruppert. The retired-police-officer-turned-radical-thinker is the subject of a new documentary by Chris Smith, who has made his career focusing on amusing, out-of-the-mainstream oddballs in films like American Job, American Movie, Home Movie and The Yes Men.
If you’re any sort of sports fan, you know that this Sunday, Drew Brees and the NFC Champion New Orleans Saints will make the first Super Bowl appearance in team history as they take on Peyton Manning and the AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. If you’re not a sports fan, you probably don’t care. But you should.
It would stand to reason that the New Orleans Saints, a team named after a song, might inspire more songs. Being one of the most defeated teams in American Football, this season The Saints captivated their musical hometown, the football-watching masses and even some of those who tend to loathe the sport (that would be me).
Poet, journalist, activist and mouth musician Hakim Bellamy is a Philadelphia native who has lived in the Land of Enchantment for five years. Bellamy, who is also the social and community programs coordinator at the New Mexico State Office of African American Affairs, took time out of his busy Black History Month schedule to identify, via electronic mail, Albuquerque’s very own hip-hop supergroup.
In 2008, after five years living in Bath, England, James Reich and Hannah Levbarg decided to relocate. The married couple and founders of post-punk group Venus Bogardus fled the bloody British economy of Reich’s homeland and returned to Levbarg's roots. They now live in Santa Fe.
To help it, of course. On Friday, Feb. 5, DJs Losack, Denise, Maris, Dave 12, Pablo 77 and Burnt Reynolds will mix beats to raise money for Haiti. The charitable action takes place from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Blackbird Buvette (509 Central NW). All proceeds and donations go to Yéle Haitia. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Will New Mexico offer drug users treatment instead of jail time?
By Carolyn Carlson
There might be some good news on the horizon for those caught in the revolving criminal door of drug addiction. Proposed state legislation would give judges the discretion to offer people with drug-possession charges a chance to participate in a treatment program instead of spending time in jail.
Remember paying all those red-light camera tickets? The City Council spent most of the fine money collected since 2005 at the Monday, Feb. 1 meeting. Those dollars were allocated for upgrades to three fire stations, protective equipment for firefighters, 200 police cars and beefing up the party patrol.
New Mexico, land of two national laboratories, is home to lots of scientists. Whether employed developing supercomputers, testing explosives or doing autopsies on extraterrestrial crash victims, there are plenty of PhDs walking around.
Dateline: China—Desperate to cash in on the popularity of James Cameron’s smash hit film Avatar, tourism officials in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park held an official ceremony last Monday to change the name of Nan Tian Yi Zhu Mountain, which means Southern Sky Column Mountain, to Avatar Hallelujah Mountain. The towering land formation, which juts nearly vertically up from a sea of mist, was reportedly a major inspiration for the film’s floating Hallelujah Mountains. The Zhangjiajie government website says Hollywood photographer Scott Hansen spent time shooting there in 2008 for the movie. “Many pictures he took then become prototypes for various elements in the Avatar movie,” noted the website. The park is now offering package visits to tourists, including a “magical tour to Avatar-Pandora” and a “miracle tour to Avatar’s floating mountain.”
Scott Brown's victory over Martha Coakley in Massachusetts has been hyped in the media as a product of voter "anger" and a growing "anti-establishment" mood that may sweep across the country. Everyone seems to agree that Brown conducted a more dynamic campaign that Coakley. In addition, while Republicans pulled a good number of voters, turnout was lower among young people, urban voters and perhaps even women—all of whom could have disproportionately favored Coakley.
Regarded as one of the 20th century's most important and mind-bendingly influential artists, Man Ray was a painter, avant-garde photographer, sculptor and pal of Salvador Dalí. An exhibit of his work, Man Ray, African Art and the Modernist Lens,makes its only stop west of the Potomac River here in Albuquerque at the UNM Art Museum beginning Feb. 5.
There’s a puzzling distinction made between art and design. It seems to be based on the often unstated assumptions that: 1) Artists and designers do different things; 2) both the processes and the outputs of each are inherently different; 3) beauty of form and utility of function cannot exist equally in a single object, which means that one must always eclipse the other (so when beauty is dominant, the object is art, and when utility is dominant, the object is design). But fundamentally, both artists and designers are responsible for an object’s creation; both utility and beauty are equally present in most everything around us—and are mutually reinforcing, at that.
If Talin Market is the center of Albuquerque’s galaxy of Vietnamese restaurants, May Hong is a far-flung planet. It's tucked into a strip mall on the southeast corner of Eubank and Montgomery, next to a tattoo parlor.
Steve Stucker really needs no introduction. Since 1990, he’s brought jovial morning weather forecasts to New Mexicans via KOB-4. Formerly a professional dog trainer, Stucker is a friend to animals, even parading pooches on TV every Friday in order to help them get adopted. He also likes to dress up, sometimes appearing on air, according to his KOB bio, as “Elvis, Martha Stewart, Richard Simmons, Arnold Sportsnweather (Schwarzenegger), Mother Stucker, Patty O'Furniture or his alter ego Ed Noid.” Stucker is also a motivational speaker who’s highly involved with the community, and he’s been voted Alibi readers’ “Favorite TV Personality” multiple times in our Best of Burque poll. And he’s nice.
Flicker, the independent horror thriller shot here in Albuquerque by director Aaron Hendren, should be available on DVD starting this Friday, Jan. 29. It’s a perfect opportunity for lovers of offbeat slasher films to support local cinema. You can pick up a copy through Amazon.com. For more info, log on to eggmurders.com.
Do I really have any interest in discussing the symbolic use of firewood as a weapon? ... No. No, I don’t.
By Devin D. O’Leary
Sometimes, I think Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier is a genius (The Kingdom, for example). Other times, I think he’s just an asshole (let’s go with Dogville). His newest film, the controversy-baiting horror whatsit Antichrist, is a coin toss.
Angels with machine guns: Doesn’t that sound bad-ass? It’s like tigers with switchblades. Or sharks with lasers. It’s awesomeness squared. And it’s pretty much the entire concept behind the action/horror/fantasy Legion. Unfortunately, this idea of diminishing returns makes for a wicked-cool poster, a mildly intriguing trailer and an incredibly mediocre film.
You probably don’t recognize “Human Target” from its original comic book run. (That’s OK; it was an obscure back-up strip in ’70s-era DC stuff like The Brave and the Bold and Detective Comics). You may not remember “Human Target” from its brief, two-month stint in the summer of 1992 as an action drama starring Rick Springfield. (Trust me, it sounded like a good idea at the time.) But you might want to get familiar with it now that FOX has revived the concept as a splashy, explosion-filled weekly series.
For seven years now, we've entreated you to send us your valentines—bloody, funny and otherwise. And every year we're amazed at what can be expressed by doilies, cardboard and what we hope is fake blood. Can't say Alibi readers are lacking in creativity.
It’s Sunday, the opening of Albuquerque Now: Winter, and the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History is alive. A tiny girl in black-and-white stripes reaches for John G. Garrett’s “Now Net,” a suspended Technicolor waterfall of aluminum wire, plastic cable and recycled picnic ware, among other found elements. Her mother, in turn, reaches for her, saying, “No, love. Touch with your eyes.” A dapper young man exclaims to his girlfriend, “Can you [adverb beginning with ‘f’] believe that all of these artists are from Albuquerque!” And an older woman, relying on her cane for support, sweetly greets her friend with, “We so need art to get us through these times.”
One of my favorite ways to eat fish is fried with Thai curry on top. It’s the best of two worlds—fried fish being a favorite dish of mine and Thai curry being another. The crispy coating provides a barrier between fragrantly rich sauce and soft flesh, and when that barrier is broken all heaven breaks loose.
In the six years since we starting doing food and beer writing, our conduits have been many: Internet, video, independent newspaper, radio, catering, hanging out, bike rides, beer tastings and various other bamboozley boons. It’s time to add another notch to the gun.
Most of the attention during this 30-day session is focused on budget woes. But with all the bad press state politicians ate last year over accusations of dirty dealings, some ethics bills may have a shot after all.
It is always a pleasure to see firefighters at a City Council meeting. At the Wednesday, Jan. 20 meeting about a dozen spoke in support of adding a paramedic to Station 8, which is near Tramway and Indian School. The station is one of the busiest in the city, and emergency critical intervention (such as airway intubation) requires a paramedic.
No one has been prosecuted under the state's 2008 human trafficking law, according to Phil Sisneros, spokesperson for the Attorney General's Office. But it's a crime he says he's sure exists. "We've long believed that the human slavery issue is one New Mexico is facing," and so do law enforcement officials and many service providers, he adds. President Obama declared January National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
Dateline: New York—Syracuse resident Derrick M. Pride probably should have just stayed in bed last Monday. His very bad day started at around 7:20 p.m. when he was shot and wounded in the left shoulder while standing near the corner of East Fayette and Bruce Streets. Pride, 39, ran across the street, got into his car and, accompanied by a witness to the shooting, began driving toward Upstate University Hospital. Unfortunately, police believe Pride was intoxicated when he got behind the wheel of his car. On his way to the hospital, he turned the wrong way down a one-way street and crashed head-on into another vehicle. Pride was taken by ambulance from the crash scene to the hospital, where E.R. workers began treating his various wounds. Athough things were starting to look up at that point, they took another turn for the worse. While helping Pride out of his bloodied clothing, medical workers found four grams of crack cocaine in his “groin area.” Pride eventually received a felony and misdemeanor charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance for the drugs. He also got busted for driving while intoxicated. Neither Pride nor his witness were able to identify the shooter.
Tall and slim with natural blond hair, the young lady walking by us exuded a confidence that belied the struggles she must have gone through to be where she was. I gestured toward her. "No matter what I do, I'll never be able to look like that," I complained.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision regarding political spending by corporations and unions was more than just a blow to democracy. It was a blow to states’ rights. All across the country, lawmakers are scrambling to determine the extent to which their local campaign financing laws are still legal. In his dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens derided the ruling for not only striking down a large portion of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act, but also because “it compounds the offense by implicitly striking down a great many state laws as well.”
It was the peak of “alternative rock.” You couldn’t turn on the radio without getting hit in the ear by crunchy, grinding guitars. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some FM stations rode this so-called third wave of punk by giving airtime to hometown bands.
New York City native Béla Fleck went to Africa to discover the roots of an instrument usually associated with America. This intercontinental travel has resulted in a documentary and album, both titled Throw Down Your Heart. In support of the 2010 Grammy-nominated work, Fleck is in the midst of an extensive tour known as Africa Project: Collaborations with Amazing African Musicians. On Wednesday, Feb. 3, the tour stops at The Lensic Performing Arts Center (211 West San Francisco, Santa Fe) and features Malian folk hero and ngoni player Bassekou Kouyate with his band Ngoni Ba. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $36 to $54, and can be obtained at ticketssantafe.org, or by calling (505) 988-1234.
“Positive.” That word keeps recurring in conversations with friends and colleagues of Zimbabwe Nkenya—bassist, mbira player, composer, educator, activist, visual artist and host of KUNM’s “The House That Jazz Built” for 20-some years. Nkenya has touched many with his warmth, conviction and enthusiasm in his decades in Albuquerque, and you could always count on hearing a joyful noise when he performed.
Many artists draw inspiration from Don Quixote: Picasso, Strauss and now an Albuquerque avant-noise thingy. On Saturday, see Milch de la Maquina—along with Analog Therapists, The Jeebies and Janksders—battle windmills, play songs and perform other knightly feats at Oneder Kind Collective (1016 Coal SW). Show starts at 8 p.m. and costs $5. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
In this week’s random selection of songs, I turned to Ms. Boss Lady, the Alibi’s editor-in-chief (and music editor before me) Laura Marrich. Aside from helping assemble this here alternative news weekly 52 times a year, Marrich is also in three bands: The Gracchi, 5-Star Motelles and Up The Holler. She’s also a jerk. Kidding! From her office computer’s iTunes, filled with dangerous Joni Mitchell land mines, Marrich shuffles her songs.
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.
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.
Big butts and bigger problems: Healthy People 2020
By Whitny Doyle, RN
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.
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.
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
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
By Devin D. O’Leary
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.