Intel engineers, volunteers and high-risk youth build a tech center
By Marisa Demarco
It cost La Plazita almost nothing to engineer a computer lab in the South Valley. Donated machines, elbow grease from volunteers and open source software built the lab, which opened its doors earlier this month.
For years now, we've asked Albuquerque to shoot us. By "shoot," we mean take pictures, and by "us," we mean the constituent parts that make up our world: people, landscapes, dogs in hats. And lucky for everyone, you've obliged. To shake things up this year, we went both old school and science-fiction modern. We brought back categories (favorites of many of you, according to the e-mails I’ve received asking where they were) and switched to an all-online format to allow for entrants and readers to see what's been submitted.
The makers of the documentary film Tapped will make a stop at Santa Fe’s Center for Contemporary Arts on Friday, March 26. The film, created by the producing team behind Who Killed the Electric Car? and I.O.U.S.A., exposes the scare tactics and polluting ways of the multibillion dollar bottled water industry. Director Stephanie Soechtig and producer Sarah Olson are in the midst of a cross-country “Get Off the Bottle” tour, driving from New York to L.A. in a translucent container recycling truck. (The containers are translucent, not the truck.) In addition to promoting the film at various independent cinemas, the filmmakers are on a mission to replace America’s disposable plastic water battles with reusable metal ones. Their appearance in Santa Fe is presented in conjunction with Bioneers and Earth Care International. The recycling truck will stop at the Santa Fe Plaza before arriving at the CCA Cinematheque at 6 p.m. The film screening starts at 8 p.m. For more information, log on to ccasantafe.org.
Canadians get dirty (in a very clean way) in Egoyan’s newest thriller
By Devin D. O’Leary
Canada is a funny place. The country has produced its fair share of edgy entertainers: David Cronenberg, Kids in the Hall, William Gibson, Neil Young, Tommy Chong. But even in their darkest moments, there’s a certain politeness to what they do. Canada does have an edge; it’s just clean and very well-maintained.
In 1989, Ron Howard directed an ensemble comedy/drama called Parenthood. It was kind of generic, but it starred Steve Martin, Keanu Reeves, Joaquin Phoenix, Mary Steenburgen and a whole bunch of other people. It made $100 million at the box office. Naturally, Hollywood figured a TV spin-off was in order. After all, the idea of white, middle-class, suburban parents and children ... living at home ... doing stuff that’s, you know, funny ... and occasionally heartwarming—why, it’s something television had never before attempted. So, in 1990, NBC tried a TV version. It starred Ed Begley Jr., Thora Birch, David Arquette and some kid named Leonardo DiCaprio. It lasted like four episodes.
In many religions and cultures, altars are used to present offerings, tokens of sacrifice. Over thousands of years, altars have become places where people seek solace and guidance. OffCenter Community Arts and the New Mexico Art Therapy Association will be accepting entries for the show Altars of Light on March 25 and 26 from noon to 6 p.m. at OffCenter (808 Park SW). The organizers are looking for art that incorporates the altar and "its image as sacred ground to promote healing from the wounds of sexual violence." Each artist is invited to submit up to two entries for this juried show. There is no entry fee. The opening reception for Altars of Light will be at OffCenter on Friday, April 2, from 5 to 8 p.m. Go to offcenterarts.org.
While calling q-Staff’s newest work a play isn’t totally inaccurate, the term fails to encompass all that With Bright Spines strives for. The piece—originally slated for its premiere during Revolutions International Theatre Festival but postponed due to a conflict with q-Staff theatre’s landlords—is less a re-enactment of a script than the creation of a whole-bodied sensory experience.
People spend more money on organic meat than on conventional meat for a range of health, environmental and ethical reasons. At my local store, however, none of the meat for sale is organic except the dog food. Unfortunately for my dog, I've been eating most of it myself.
Lady Reporters XXX—As I sat watching Crazy Heart and praying for death, it occurred to me that I don’t particularly care for the way print journalists, particularly of the female variety, are portrayed in movies.
If I’ve been critical of President Obama and congressional Democrats for watering down legislation during the health reform debate (and I certainly have, on many occasions these last months), then why did I feel such a sense of elation over the bill’s passage Sunday night?
Dateline: New York—After cops came pounding on their door again last week, an elderly Brooklyn couple told the New York Daily News they’re tired of having their house raided by the NYPD. Walter Martin, an 83-year-old World War II veteran, and his 82-year-old wife Rose haven’t broken the law, and yet cops have mistakenly shown up at their house at least 50 times in the last eight years. The Daily News reported its computer search showed 15 other people living at the Martins’ Marine Park address. The Martins don’t know any of them. As a result, police from all over New York’s boroughs have banged on the Martins’ door searching for murderers, robbers and even rogue cops. “I’m really worried,” Rose Martin told the newspaper. “How could so many people get my address and how could cops be coming from so many different precincts?” Police are at a loss to explain why the couple’s home continues to be a target. “Our identity theft squad is investigating the matter,” Inspector Ed Mullen, an NYPD spokesperson, told the Daily News.
On St. Patrick’s Day, ¡Ask a Mexican! columnist Gustavo Arellano visited Blackbird Buvette in Downtown Albuquerque for a book-signing party with the Alibi. He was in the state gathering research for his next book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America (And Soon, the World). An entire chapter will be devoted to New Mexico’s culinary ways. To honor the writer from Orange County and our neighbors to the south, we drank, we danced, we ate, we laughed, we acknowledged the disturbing similarities between the treatment of Irish immigrants in the 19th century and Mexicans today. And we drank some more. Fun and clever discourse abounded, and Arellano wisely got restaurant recommendations from the audience. We can’t wait until Arellano comes back in the fall.
Last week on St. Patrick's Day I was playing soul 45s on the Blackbird patio when a sad text from my sister came across the wire. She said her friend Laura's husband Alex had suddenly died and that everyone in New Orleans was shattered. I told her I was sorry and to give Laura my condolences, then got back to playing records. It wasn't until the next day that I realized what Alex she was talking about: Alex Chilton—guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer, king of cult power-pop.
Rahim AlHaj, Bill Frisell and Eyvind Kang perform The Baghdad/Seattle Suite
By Mel Minter
As they stood in the wings at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in early February, about to perform The Baghdad/Seattle Suite publicly for the first time, Iraqi oud player Rahim AlHaj and Americans guitarist Bill Frisell and violist Eyvind Kang heard their cue to go onstage.
Since its formation in the fall of 2005, Left Brain's style has gone through various stages of development, from jam band to emotive heavy metal. With the release of its third album, Solipsism, the three-piece moved on to completely instrumental progressive metal compositions with strange time signatures.
Aaron Hendren is a local filmmaker, responsible for such twisted tales as The Faithful and the Foul and Flicker. Lately he’s been staying up all night composing and recording 99 percent of the music for his upcoming Psycho Bettys From Planet Pussycat. Here are five random little gems that have been inspiring him.
It's fitting that for Women's History Month, Opera Southwest is staging Georges Bizet's Carmen. The opera, set in 1830s Spain, tells the story of a strong-willed Romani woman, the eponymous Carmen, who falls in love with the soldier Don José. While bringing them together, their passion also tears them tragically apart. See Carmen at the KiMo Theatre (423 Central NW). Shows on Saturday, March 20; Tuesday, March 23; and Friday, March 26 are at 7:30 p.m. The performance on Sunday, March 28, is at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $20 to $65, with discounts available for students, seniors and groups. Get them through Opera Southwest (243-0591), ticketmaster.com or the KiMo Box Office (768-3544).
On the seventh anniversary of the Iraq invasion, a New Mexico nurse discusses her service
By Whitny Doyle, RN
When people hear about nurses serving in war, they probably picture a woman in white tending to wounded soldiers on the battlefield. Modern American military nursing, however, goes beyond providing comfort to our uniformed service people. Nurses may dress the wounds of the enemy. They may deploy to New Orleans to salvage lives in a temporary hospital. Some military nurses may get the chance to share their skills and knowledge with Iraqi women in makeshift classrooms. Others may find themselves witnessing history firsthand as Saddam Hussein’s guilty verdict is being read.
The National Association of Latino Independent Producers is now accepting applications for its spring 2010 Latino Writers Lab. The conference/workshop will take place May 19 through 23 in Santa Fe. It’s designed for people who want to work as professional screenwriters and develop strong screenplay material for production or sale. It includes skills development by professional instructors, direct mentoring of your work-in-progress and workshop lunches on various legal, guild and industry matters. Scripts can be in English or Spanish, but fluency in English is a requirement. From this five-day local session, 12 to 15 experienced writers will be selected to participate in a 10-day intensive lab this coming September in Santa Monica, Calif. The deadline to postmark your application is Wednesday, March 24, so you need to get on the ball. To download an application or dig up more details, log on to nalip.org.
A six-pack of docs offers a refreshing dose of reality
By Devin D. O’Leary
Increasingly, we find ourselves living in a time when the rising tide of “reality television” has us questioning what is actually real. Is Snooki, the self-described “guidette” queen from “The Jersey Shore,” real? Well, for starters, she’s not Italian. She’s Chilean. So, I think we’re fairly safe saying no. Does Maria Kanellis, one of this stars of this season’s “The Celebrity Apprentice,” actually count as a celebrity? Do the Kardashian sisters fake relationships with sports stars to drive up ratings on “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”? Is “The Hills” entirely scripted? Are Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag actually human?
It’s easy to be struck by the cultural differences between America and England. Ever since that whole Revolutionary War thing, we’ve been pointing out their funny accents, their goofy use of the word “zed” instead of “z,” their deplorable habit of eating blood sausage. Occasionally, though, it’s enlightening to note our similarities. For example: Nerds, it would seem, are nerds the world over.
Daniel Richmond moved to Albuquerque in the fall of 2009. A Vermont native with a breathtaking talent for woodcarving and a long-standing connection to the Southwest, he came here to pursue his MFA in Sculpture at UNM. Just last week, he embossed the names of 112 New Mexico endangered species in red Jemez dirt across the university’s Smith Plaza. The meaning of the work rested as much on its creation as on its disappearance; within moments of its completion, students shuffled and skateboarded across the installation, wiping it away entirely. Over the next few months, he plans to repeat his 112Endangered Names Embossed in Dirt project—and present many others—throughout the city. The Alibi wanted to know what motivates this fantastically curious new Albuquerquean. So we went and found out.
ABQ Brew Pub opened quietly this past week (with its grand opening slated for March 19), and it was near empty during my visit. So empty that the hostess and two servers were dead asleep at a table when I walked in. Well, not asleep—but they may as well have been for all the action was going on at the bar. Maybe four people were sitting around 20 or so bar seats. Fine with me; it gave me the chance to look around without making people feel like I was ogling their dinners.
If you need a reminder that there’s more to Juárez than disheartening headlines, look no further than El Sabor de Juarez. The sunny little place on Gibson near Carlisle serves Juárez-style Mexican food under the care of owner Jesus Mata Sr. and his son Marcos. Jesus says the only concession to New Mexican cuisine they've made is the addition of flour to thicken the red and green sauces.
The saga of North Valley residents battling a cement company in their neighborhood may have come to a close. On Wednesday, March 10, the city’s Air Quality Control Board approved a settlement agreement between the Greater Gardner Neighborhood Association and American Cement.
One segment of UNM’s student population has slipped through the cracks, says undergraduate Jeffrey Waldo. “UNM has a national reputation for its diversity and takes really great efforts in welcoming its diversity, but the queer community has really been overlooked."
City employees gathered en masse to let the mayor and Council know they want to be part of the budget-tightening dialogue. More than a hundred rank-and-file workers—firefighters, police officers, clerks and others—showed up, and union representatives spoke, asking to be a part of solving the budget shortfall. They said Mayor Richard Berry assured their inclusion in the discussion, but so far that hasn't happened.
Don’t worry, Middle America. In the effort to thwart the threat to national security posed by Islamic extremism (the greatest threat to our way of life since communism swept like a hot summer breeze into Indochina), no draft will be forthcoming. All fighting will be conducted by the indentured underclass that has nothing better to do than grind out multiple tours in the warm, inviting climes of Iraq and Afghanistan for the sake of indifferent countrymen.
Dateline: Czech Republic—A newly formed travel agency in Prague is offering a unique travel service—vacations for stuffed animals. The Toy Traveling agency was pitched as an idea on the TV reality show “Den D”—a Czech spin-off of the British show “Dragons’ Den” as well as the American show “Shark Tank.” Two of the judges on the show, including a former Czech minister of information, agreed to invest 150,000 crowns (about $7,700) each in the enterprise. Since the episode aired, Toy Traveling’s website (toytraveling.com) has logged nearly 20,000 visitors. For between 90 and 150 euros ($120 to $205), customers can mail their favorite toys to the Czech Republic, where they will be taken on a guided tour of such landmarks as Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge. Tour guides will take pictures to send back with the stuffed animals. In the Premium Package, the inanimate tourists will receive a “massage” and an “aromatherapy” session.
The Alibi was very proud indeed to join Albuquerque Pride in co-presenting the first-ever OUTstanding Awards, designed to honor the best in gay and gay-allied Albuquerque. We invited the community to nominate and vote for OUTstanding recipients in January and February. The winners were announced in a glittery, sealed-envelope ceremony on Saturday, March 6, at the Radisson Hotel ballroom. In addition to bringing much-deserved recognition to Albuquerque’s LGBT population and supporters, the night was a blast!
Carefully avoiding the loaded term “unplugged,” the latest in a six-year-old series originally known as The Acoustic Showcase takes place at Low Spirits this Friday. Bands, and varying configurations thereof, perform songs from their respective catalogs as well as selected covers that don’t fit into regular repertoires. Don’t expect old favorites and regurgitated hits. Do expect obscure covers from limited-edition blue-vinyl releases that would make any record-collecting fanboy swoon.
DIY patron of the arts Derek Caterwaul on Albuquerque's SWxØFest
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Like so many of the world’s great ideas, the Southwest by No Fest began as a joke. It eventually manifested on some flyers last year, and in 2010 SWxØFest has morphed into something resembling a full-fledged festival. Events, which began last week, the convergence of a handful of atypical venues and the bounty of touring bands passing through town this month. KUNM 89.9 FM DJ and longtime promoter of local music and arts events Derek Caterwaul is among those at the helm of the endeavor. He says this month's fest is not so much a spin-off of the music industry spectacle that is SXSW but more a spinout inspired by a concentration of creative energy and counter-SXSW Austin events like Fuck by Fuck You and GAYbiGAYGAY.
The hues that appear in mid-century color photography tend to create a delicate, airy quality, as if the sands of time are causing the image to melt away before our eyes. Here we see a western view of Route 66 at I-25 and ghostly Zia images hovering in the sky during what seems to be the late ’50s. Once a humble postcard, this photo now advertises Songs for Boys & Girls with Sugar Wings at The Kosmos (1715 Fifth Street NW) on Saturday at 7 p.m. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Nick Brown is a musician who likes to make weird songs late at night in the shed behind his house. He’s also the Alibi’s puppet master, a prolific blogger and a jokesmith. Here are five jazzy, new wave-y, psychedelic, random selections from his collections.
Haptic technology is to our sense of touch what graphics are to our sense of sight, explains Tom Anderson, CEO of Albuquerque company Novint. “Our technology gives you a sense of touch in computing,” he says. “You hold onto the handle of our device, and you can move it right and left and forward and backward like a mouse, but you can also move it up and down.” It controls a cursor on the screen, Anderson describes, and when that touches something, motors in the device turn on. It gives the operator the sense that they’re touching virtual objects.
Dear Albuquerqueros: Ustedes will always have a special place in my heart, since the Alibi was the first paper with huevos to print my ¡Ask a Mexican! column. Unfortunately, I can't live in your wonderful town since my demented homeland of Orange County, Calif., needs me to expose skinheads and pedophile priests on a regular basis. But fate is bringing me back to Albuquerque this week on account of a book I'm working on—Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America (And Soon, the World)! It'll be released next year and deal with how "Mexican" food has evolved in the United States—and I'll devote a whole chapter to the Land of Enchantment, because the rest of the States used to like "Southwestern" food until pinche taco trucks became popular.
... and finds true love. The Alibi’s Joseph Baca responds to hard-hitting questions about the Land of Enchantment.
By Joseph Baca
If you’ve never heard of Gustavo “The Mexican” Arellano and his syndicated column ¡Ask a Mexican!, printed weekly in 37 newspapers throughout the U.S., you must be living on the hinterlands of pop culture. In his column, which has a circulation of about 2 million, Mr. Arellano uses scholarship, acerbic commentary, irreverent humor, cynicism and simple smarts to break down racist boundaries and answer the most straightforward questions about Mexicans. Questions regarding differences among the broad spectrum of Latinos the world over are addressed. No cultural group is safe from his biting wit, as whites, Chicanos, Filipinos, Guatemalans, Chinese, blacks and even Argentines are all fodder for his humor.
SXSW season has arrived, and you know what that means: During the next couple of weeks a disproportionate number of touring bands will be making pit stops in Albuquerque on their way to and from Austin. Among the packs of troubadours is a little piece of old Albuquerque. Two thirds of Mighty Tiger, a dreamy rock band from Seattle, is comprised of one half of the late Oh, Ranger!—Boyd Reno and Luke Heath. Imbued with the Reno-and-Heath touch—sad guitar and cheeky lyrics placed in a squirming pop context—Mighty Tiger is ever-so-slightly reminicent of their earlier local projects, but with more mature, higher fidelity results. See Mighty Tiger perform live on Tuesday, March 16, at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) with fellow Seattleite Grand Hallway, along with Albuquerque's Bellemah and The Giranimals. The show begins at 9 p.m. and $5 gets you in.
Describing the work of Alfred Darlington, known on stage as Daedelus, is no easy task. The experimental Los Angeles-based, Ninja Tune-backed electronic musician and producer inhabits realms of emerging technologies, oxymoronic juxtapositions and avant sound. A vanguard concerned with invention, he was among the first to use an instrument called a Monome box in live performance, all the while dressed like a 19th century sophisticate. Prior to his first performance in New Mexico, we questioned Darlington by means of electronic communiqué.
The Scrams, The Dirty Novels and Broken Water at Burt’s Tiki Lounge
By Captain America
How long has it been since a band has not only hit Burque but hit it over the head, taken it hapless prisoner in a trashed garage and subjected its collective ears to hip-swivel rock? Fifteen years and change I’d say, harking back to the lo-fi ruckus of The Drags when it was acceptable to not only rock but to roll. The Scrams haven’t forgotten that a band can maintain dance-worthy melody while playing as loose as a pair of two dollar shoes. No costumes, no front, no shtick but a pure adrenaline injection to your spinal cortex that dares your feet to stay still. You can see it happen live this Saturday on a triple-threat bill at Burt’s.
During the last half of this month, various underground entities will do their best to jointly exploit the talents of local lunatics and the wealth of weirdos traveling to Texas in an event known as Albuquerque Southwest by No Fest. Show info can be found at www.myspace.com/albuquerquediy.
Regret is a terrible emotion with which to live. It can gnaw at you for years, trapping you in a sad cycle of longing and self-recrimination. Do not let this happen to you. The deadline for our seventh annual Photo Contest is nigh. Go to alibi.com and click on “Photo Contest 2010” for all you need to know about how to enter. Get your submissions in by 11:59:59 p.m. on Sunday, March 14. Like most things that happen on the Ides of March, late entries are unlucky and will not be considered. The Photo Contest issue hits the streets on March 25. Don’t hate yourself for missing out.
Juli Hendren may not have sought to change our perceptions of violent activism when she started composing Waste Her, her new one-woman show playing at Tricklock Space. But she clearly intended to explore how people move from enthusiasm to extremism, and why they come to view destruction as the only viable solution to the world’s ills. Inspired by the real-life exploits of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) between the early '90s and the early Naughts, Hendren conceived of Waste Her after reading Outside’s September 2007 interview with Chelsea Gerlach.
The special session of the Legislature accomplished in four days what was impossible in 30: reaching an agreement on how to plug a $600 million gap in next year's budget. Legislators did it because the pressure was on—and because a lot of preliminary work was done the week before. That work at least provided a starting point for heavy negotiations.
Spectators entered the courtroom, greeted one another and chatted animatedly while they waited for the jury. Some hugged the plaintiffs, the 11 demonstrators who had been among hundreds in Albuquerque on March 20, 2003, to protest the war in Iraq. Seven years later in District Court, after two weeks of testimony, the verdict was due. The news vans were parked outside. Would the jury find that the Albuquerque Police Department stepped over the line that night by donning riot gear, launching tear gas grenades, and shooting pepper-ball guns and beanbag rifles?
Dateline: England—A sales assistant at a WH Smith store in Chichester, West Sussex, refused to sell a woman a pair of children’s safety scissors over fears that the mother might allow her daughter to use them unsupervised. Nadine Martin was at the store purchasing art supplies for her 3-year-old daughter. When the youngster placed the plastic scissors, which were marked “3+” on the checkout counter, a female sales assistant asked, “Will you be supervising her?” Mrs. Martin told the Telegraph newspaper, “She called another woman over and said it was company policy that because my daughter had put the scissors on the counter it called into question whether she would be supervised using them. I can’t believe a parent can’t buy plastic scissors. They were clearly labeled and had ‘3+’ on them. There was a queue of about four people and it was embarrassing.” In protest, Martin left the store without purchasing any of the items she and her daughter had picked up. “Customer safety is of paramount importance to us,” a WH Smith spokesperson told the Telegraph. “To that end, we insist our staff complete regular training updates to remind them of their obligations both legally and in accordance with our own policies.” The spokesperson went on to admit that, “On this occasion a staff member may have been a little overzealous in their interpretation of that training and we apologize for any inconvenience or embarrassment that may have been caused.”
Multi-use art space, coffeehouse and general neighborhood hangout The Kosmos is getting into the movie biz. Kind of. This weekend, The Kosmos will host several screenings of Jamin Winans’ much-praised ultra-indie fantasy film Ink. Ink spins the story of an 8-year-old girl who becomes a pawn in a metaphysical war being fought between the forces of light and darkness. Kidnapped and taken to a freaky alternate dimension, our heroine must fight her way back to the real world and bring salvation to her desperate father. Screenings will take place Friday and Saturday, March 12 and 13, at 8 p.m. There will also be a Sunday matinee at 3 p.m. The Kosmos is located at 1713 Fifth Street NW. For more info, log on to www.thekosmos.org. To scope out a trippy trailer for Ink, head to their YouTube channel or their website, doubleedgefilms.com.
Lots of baa, but no humbug in this raw, open-eyed elegy for the American cowboy
By Devin D. O’Leary
Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash, the husband-and-wife filmmaking team behind Sweetgrass, apparently prefer the term “recordist” over the term “director.” Walking out of the theater as the end credits roll on their latest documentary, you might be inclined to agree.
Comedy Central gets freaky with its new animated series “Ugly Americans.” Like a lot of shows, “Ugly Americans” follows the crummy work environment and lousy personal life of one average American schmuck. In this case, our schmuck is luckless twentysomething social worker Mark Lilly (voiced by Matt Oberg). Mark works for the Department of Integration, a New York agency dedicated to providing job counseling to fresh immigrants. The twist here is that, in Mark’s world, these immigrants are just as likely to include vampires, zombies, aliens, werewolves and giant chicken people as they are to consist of your average Third World refugees.
Because I had to be out the door in 45 minutes, the hostess at Seasons recommended I sit at the dining room bar, where I took the bartender’s recommendation on a Silver Coin margarita, and focused on the menu.
Not with a bang, not with a whimper, not even with your favorite local beer blogger (yes, me) writing for the Alibi. No, there is an even surer sign of the end times than boiling seas and Sarah Palin: Golfer John Daly has all but given up beer. The man who made it cool to be a golfer has found religion, sobriety and a slimmer figure, after Lap-Band surgery allowed him to shed 115 pounds. The surgery makes it difficult to ingest carbonated drinks, and Daly says it takes him an hour to finish a beer, which he rarely craves anymore. How could a man who named one of his children after a rehab center he attended reject the liquid that greets me in the morning and tucks me into bed at night? A man who once used a beer can as a golf tee, who was arrested for being passed out at Hooters, who sported a mullet before some hipsters tried to make them ironically cool, though still hideous? (What makes Daly’s mullet cool is the fact that he rocked one while playing professional golf alongside robotic stuffed shirts.)