Delivering bad news makes for good drama in quietly powerful indie
By Devin D. O’Leary
Earlier this year, an independent film called The Messenger very quietly racked up two Oscar nominations—one for Best Original Screenplay and one for Best Supporting Actor. That’s appropriate for a film as quietly powerful as The Messenger. Hopefully, as the film slowly rolls out across America, more people will get to see it.
Welcome to Best of Burque, the Alibi’s user-generated guide to Albuquerque! If you’re an old hand at this issue, you’ve probably already skipped ahead to Best Pet Store, or Best Art Gallery, or Best Anything We Forgot (which is magnificent this year). But if you’re new to BoB, please allow us to make a formal introduction.
Don't worry, we didn't forget the restaurant categories. The Alibi has a whole issue for that—you can vote for Best of Burque Restaurants in the fall. In the meantime, here are the notes you sent us about the categories we stupidly left out. (These are not official categories, and the entities listed are not official winners or titleholders. No voting determined this list. These are simply reader write-ins ... probably from our moms, because they’re so very proud of us.)
The chance to work with the city employees—just working with dedicated people who get up every day and try to make the city a better place. They're all over. They're at the Solid Waste Department, the Fire Department, they're in the administration at City Hall. I just run into people over and over again who bring so much energy to their jobs. Plus, you get a chance to sit with people who are creative and have good ideas on how to move the city forward.
On a recent Wednesday evening, a youngish crowd gathered on the banks of Paris' Seine River to catch a ride to a nearby island. After the short crossing, they sat on blankets and pillows amid crackling fire pits and ate Irish tapas. There were plates of salad greens tossed with Clonakilty blood sausage, thick with oats. Bowls of chunky seafood chowder with smoked salmon were followed by creamy mocha hazelnut meringue—all of which helped absorb a variety of whiskey-based drinks, including whiskey Mojitos. Folksy rock bands played on a makeshift stage, not loud enough to overwhelm conversation. The event was called Foodstock. And while most of the guests were better dressed and better smelling than attendees at the namesake Woodstock festival 41 years ago, both groups shared a spirit of revolution.
Nine all-star New Mexico drafts, two homebrewers and one unlikely location
By ABQ Beer Geek
The only reasons I’ve ever visited the industrial wasteland around Jefferson and Osuna were to pick up an obscure part for a vacuum cleaner and to dispose of trash I had forgotten to put out for two weeks straight. The opening of Hallenbrick Brewery gave me a whole new incentive to actually drive north of Osuna. Of course a beer freak like me would. The question is, would anyone else?
How will New Mexicans be affected? An insider explains.
By Whitny Doyle, RN
Navigating health reform legislation is no small task. This enormous Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act does everything from impose a 10 percent tax on tanning salon services to reworking the country’s massive Medicare program. That’s why the Alibi turned to health policy expert and seasoned clinician Nancy Ridenour, Ph.D., RN. (Read web extras here, and see a list of basic terms defined here.)
After 16 years on the job, top City Attorney Bob White is retiring. White, also known as an actor in local theater, served under several mayors. He will be replaced by Rob Perry, who was former Gov. Gary Johnson’s corrections cabinet secretary.
Dateline: Florida—According to the Pensacola News Journal, Google Earth helped a sheriff’s department bust a major litterbug. Deputy Gregory Barnes used satellite images from Google Earth to hunt down the owner of an 18-foot boat which had been dumped in an undeveloped subdivision about 15 miles north of Pensacola. Authorities were able to identify a fuzzy image of the boat in question parked at Dwight Everett Foster’s house. When police questioned him, Foster admitted to dumping the old boat. The police said it would have cost Foster $18 to dispose of the vessel at a local landfill. He now faces a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
Fighting two costly wars, massively expanding the federal role in health care and adding trillions of dollars to America’s national debt—sounds like President George W. Bush, right? Well, it does describe Bush’s policies, but unfortunately, it also describes President Obama’s track record more than a year into his presidency.
The Esther Bone Memorial Library (950 Pinetree SE in Rio Rancho) will host a free screening of The Concert for Bangladesh on Thursday, April 8, at 6 p.m. The film is a recording of George Harrison’s groundbreaking charity concert from 1971. Among the performers captured in the classic concert film are Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell, Ravi Shankar and Ringo Starr. For more information, contact the library at 891-5012.
Like it or not (not!), we live in a world over-saturated by reality television. In that respect, NBC’s heavily hyped, Jerry Seinfeld-produced reality show “The Marriage Ref” is hardly the worst thing on television. But let’s not kid ourselves. It’s still crap.
When vocalist Gretchen Parlato performs a song, she doesn’t so much inhabit it as become inhabited by it, living and breathing a musical and emotional life that is inseparable from the artist. Her singing is personal, and therefore it’s immediate and resonant—and because of that, apparently artless.
Zoe Boekbinder makes music for people who like to wear sequins to the library
By Summer Olsson
When I first heard Zoe Boekbinder’s beautiful Artichoke Perfume, I thought it sounded like the musical child of Jolie Holland and Joanna Newsom had joined the circus and made an album. Not only do other people compare her to Holland, Boekbinder (pronounced “Bookbinder”) lists the musician as an influence, too. But the Oakland-based Canadian is hesitant to label her sound.
She beckons with her ... eyes. Also, her tetas. One of the best things about Atomic Cantina (315 Gold SW) is that there’s continuously been local art on the punk rock bar’s walls since it opened in May 2003. (Do we smell a birthday coming on?) Atomic’s not afraid to hang pop art, risqué or abstract, along with other beautiful and weird works by 505 faves. This month, drop by to see paintings by Christina Aristmuño, David Gatt, Megan Cronin, John Henry Hansen, Amanda Banker, Heather Cronin, Sunita Aristmuño, George Evans, Rodney Ibarra, Jay Smithline and Melinda Casey; photography by Crystal Sims, John Salazar and Nathan Paolinelli; ink work by Jeff Hayes; and mixed media by Kevin Hopper and Sharon Chang. (Marisa Demarco)
The 10th Annual Global DanceFest, presented by the VSA North Fourth Art Center and NewArt New Mexico, returns with its spring iteration. This weekend, see The Good Dance—dakar/brooklyn by New York dance company Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group and Andreya Ouamba/Compagnie 1er Temps, from Senegal via Congo-Brazzaville. What does all that mean? An explosion of movement that examines the cultures of the American Mississippi River and African Congo River area and explores their similarities. Performances at the South Broadway Cultural Center (1025 Broadway SE) are at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Ireland is a country of heartbreaking contrasts. Romanticized for its physical beauty and the humor of its people, it’s also marked by centuries of colonization and desperate poverty. In much of Irish literature, this seeming incongruity is expressed through characters who are both fiercely loyal to their home and who dream endlessly about leaving it.
Keshet Dance Company’s Ani Ma’amin at the KiMo Theatre
By Christie Chisholm
Memory is tricky. With some memories, we owe it to ourselves and those around us to mull over and share them, at which point they stop being memories and become information. And eventually, as they pass from one person to the next, from one generation to the next, they lose their immediacy and, in many ways, their effectiveness. They become history—and we all know what happens to those who don’t learn from history.
The problem with writing a review of a pizza joint is that pizza appreciation is a deeply personal thing. Sentimental factors will cloud the most sincere attempts at objectivity. For example, it is a fact that the best pizza in the world comes from Armando’s Pizza, down the street from where I grew up in Cambridge, Mass. That’s because when the subject of pizza comes up, many an eater’s heart and belly return to the pizza joint of their home neighborhood, like a salmon swimming up the river of its birth.
The first living thing I remember trying to grow was a strawberry plant. My mom helped me put it in the soil right outside our front door. My mom had a way with plants. She molded massive berms, teeming with pink geraniums, powder-puff-like marigolds and starry daffodils. In our backyard, she nurtured plum trees and guarded heirloom tomatoes, which ballooned into ripe, deep crimson orbs the size of baseballs.
Woody’s granddaughter Sarah Lee talks about the Guthrie family
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
On the phone, Sarah Lee Guthrie’s voice bubbles with cheer. The youngest daughter of Arlo Guthrie has been doing a lot of interviews because her father no longer will. Constantly talking to reporters, she says, makes her nervous, but she needs to get good at it one of these days.
We suspect this artist may also be responsible for the vintage Albuquerque postcard collage that ran two issues ago. The whimsy seen in the last flyer is mostly absent here. Instead there is a heavily burned and dodged sepia-toned image—what seems to be a photomontage—of an old man creepy-handedly pouring milk. Advertised is lauded German/English avant jazz trio Konk Pack, along with Turbanator 5K and Hedia. This performance takes place at The Kosmos (1715 Fifth Street NW) on Monday, April 5, at 7 p.m. Admission is $8. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
The memories attached to Kevin R. Elder’s random selections
By Summer Olsson
Kevin R. Elder has played bass in local bands such as Unit 7 Drain and I is for Ida. He is also the co-artistic director of Tricklock Company and often writes original music and lyrics for their plays. These are some random picks, along with the memories attached, that have helped shape him into the artist he is now.
Albuquerque. A high-desert city of half a million souls, all bumping into each other on the way to destiny. A sleepy town? Sure, this ain't no Pittsburgh or anything, but there's plenty here to keep the denizens of Dirt City well-fed with art, depending on their appetites. Here's the menu.
One Million Bones protests genocide, one papier-mâché femur at a time
By Julia Mandeville
Apathy is often cited as the reason that people fail to act against injustice, though perhaps impotence is a more useful way to describe such inaction. If we approach the problem from this perspective—that people don’t act because they don’t feel capable of affecting change—it has a very clear solution: Offer people a compelling, tangible way to make a difference and they will seize it.
No dazzling tales of drunken ribaldry this time. Instead, I spoke with beer masters at our fine Albuquerque brewpubs about this week’s special rotating taps. That way, you can schedule your week around beers to try, much like I plan mine around “TV Guide.” These rotating beers are usually made in small batches, so don't be surprised if something is out upon your visit. I suggest trying to visit each brewery daily to avoid the chance of disappointment.
Albuquerque makes national headlines for the weirdest things. On Wednesday, March 24, the Washington Post ran a report on the giraffe carcass improperly disposed of in the dumpster behind the Rio Grande Zoo. Around the same time, the story of a woman accused of stabbing and killing a man in the Foothills hit the big time.
Dateline: India—A long-standing dispute between India and Bangladesh over possession of an island in the Bay of Bengal has been settled—more or less—by Mother Nature. Oceanographer Sugata Hazra announced that satellite imagery and sea patrols confirm the contentious island has disappeared due to rising sea levels. For nearly 30 years, India and Bangladesh have argued over control of New Moore Island, an uninhabited strip of rock in a disputed coastal area known as the Sunderbans. Hazra, a professor at Jadavpur University in Kolkata, has declared the battle a tie, saying, “What these two countries could not achieve from years of talking has been resolved by global warming.” According to Hazra, sea levels have historically risen an average of .12 inches a year. Since 2000, however, that number has jumped to .2 inches annually. Another nearby island, Lohachara, was submerged in 1996, forcing its inhabitants to move to the mainland. At least one official in India’s foreign ministry told reporters that the disappearance of the island does not end the dispute between the South Asian neighbors, as maritime boundaries must still be resolved.
Hundreds gathered at Sanchez Farm, 14 acres of open space operated by La Plazita Institute in the South Valley. They were there to work in honor of labor organizer and activist César Chávez. His daughter, Liz Chávez Villarino, flew in from California to attend the service event on Friday, March 26, and the march from the South Valley to the National Hispanic Cultural Center the following day.
Looking for something to do this Saturday morning? How about kicking it old school? I’m talking elementary school style. The Kosmos, the coffee house / art space located at 1715 Fifth Street NW, launched Kosmic Toonage earlier this month. This free, nostalgic cartoon program runs on the venue’s big screen every Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. And if that’s not enough to get you out of bed, they’re offering bowls of sugary-delicious cereal for just $1.50. Of course, they also sell coffee, tea, breakfast burritos, bagels and more. But that’s not really in the spirit of the event, is it? Pull up a couch, eat a bowl of Lucky Charms, watch some “Popeye the Sailor Man” ... and feel free to wear your pajamas! Log on to www.thekosmos.org for details.
Remake fever strikes again in the form of Clash of the Titans, a (semi-)big budget retooling of the 1981 myth adventure starring Harry Hamlin. The saving grace here is that the original isn’t particularly beloved. It was the swan song of special effects king Ray Harryhausen, and the stop-motion style of animation he perfected in films like 1958’s The 7th Voyage of Sinbad was starting to show its age by the early ’80s. Now, the effects have all been replaced with today’s big trend: computer animation—and 3D computer animation at that!
You got commercials in my TV show! You got TV show in my commercials!
By Devin D. O’Leary
The entertainment industry has always tried to marry business and pleasure. In the early days of television, Fred Flintstone used to hawk Winston cigarettes during commercial breaks in “The Flintstones.” (No, really.) Corporations have long conspired to slip their products into popular entertainment—from the car James Bond is driving to the sunglasses Tom Cruise is sporting. Often, these “product placement” deals involve large sums of money, which helps offset the spiraling cost of movie and television production. (Which explains how Budweiser, Corvette, Jack Daniels and Nokia all found their way into last summer’s futuristic Star Trek.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.