Writing haiku sounds really, really simple, doesn't it? The form is elementary: Just five, seven and five syllables, and wham-o, you've got a poem. It's not as easy as it sounds, though. Since the early August announcement of this here contest, I've been trying to think up a congratulatory haiku for all the entrants and have come up with exactly nothing.
Management at the historic KiMo Theatre in Downtown Albuquerque is rushing full-force forward with plans to return the venue to its glory days, screening recent and classic feature films via a spanking-new HD digital projection system. This Saturday, Sept. 11, for example, marks the beginning of the Monty-Python-A-Thon. Catch Life of Brian starting at 8 p.m. and Monty Python and the Holy Grail beginning at 10 p.m. Tickets are $8 each film or $12 for the double-feature. ... That takes care of the classic. Now for the new. On Sunday, Sept. 12, at 2 p.m., KiMo will screen Bette Gordon’s indie crime drama Handsome Harry. The well-regarded film stars Steve Buscemi, Aidan Quinn, John Savage and Campbell Scott. It spins the story of a Vietnam vet investigating a decades-old crime for a former Navy buddy. Tickets are $8, available at the KiMo box office (423 Central NW).
Bleak-humored drama goes past black comedy into ... I don’t know, indigo?
By Devin D. O’Leary
There’s black comedy and then there’s Todd Solondz’ sense of humor. Which isn’t so much black as it is ... just plain wrong. Over the years, the writer-director has dug under the skin of middle-class suburbia, exposing the bleak, laugh-or-you’ll-cry ironies of life in these United States. Films like Welcome to the Dollhouse, Happiness, Storytelling and Palindromes are as likely to incite a cringe as a chuckle. Needless to say, he’s not everybody’s cup of tea.
Little over a year from now I'll have endured three decades of carbon-based livin'. Approaching this mortal milestone, more and more I'm beginning to recognize the old hippie dictum—Don't trust anyone over 30—to be a valid, if not troubling, piece of advice. Last week I found myself talking all fuckin' punk about America's teeming population of brainless youth who pass the time sucking from television's homogenizing teat, living generally mundane, unconcerned lives.
One man’s quest to bring decent post-production to New Mexico
By Chris Quintana
Hidden at the back of dead-end road off a tiny side street in Santa Fe is Stepbridge Studios. The only indication of any musical virtue is a painting of John Lennon on the driveway wall. Entering the sound room, however, offers a different perspective.
With headless abandon and in slimming vertical stripes, a performance by Shoulder Voices, Grand Canyon and The Chimpz is announced. Those of legal drinking age can see the local acts for free at Atomic Cantina (315 Gold SW) on Friday, Sept. 10. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Random tracks from Bodies of Evidence frontman Pietro Berardinell
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Pietro Berardinelli is frontman and rhythm guitar player for ass-shredding Burque metal band Bodies of Evidence. On Saturday, Sept. 11, the four-piece releases its first album, titled A Time to Rise. The party takes place at the Launchpad (21+, $5) starting at 9 p.m. with opening performances by The Ground Beneath, Caustic Lye and Tetelestai. Below is a five-song sampler of Berardinelli’s diverse listening material.
John Anczarski, 19, was cycling across the country with three friends to raise money for breast cancer research. The University of Colorado student began his trip in Pennsylvania and was heading for San Diego. He was 10 days from his destination on June 21 when an SUV in Laguna, N.M., ran him off the road. He suffered head trauma and died the next day at UNM Hospital.
The city and state have gone back and forth on whether they will allow ghost bikes to stand. Jennifer Buntz, president of the Duke City Wheelmen Foundation, champions the memorials for cyclists killed by motorists around the state.
Officers Jerome Armijo and Carmen Michaud catch a woman jaywalking at First Street and Central, just across from Alvarado Transportation Center. They run the woman’s name and it hits: She is wanted for felony burglary. After placing her under arrest, they call a detective.
Watching Susana Martinez' gubernatorial campaign ads, I've been struck by how much they seem to be in sync with many of this summer's big-budget flicks. I suppose both her politics and our taste in fantasy are reflections of our national mood in 2010.
Dateline: New York—A New York City man is being sued after losing track of a $1.35 million painting during a drunken night on the town. According to court papers, James Haggerty says he lost the Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot masterpiece “Portrait of a Girl” after a night drinking at The Mark hotel in Manhattan. Kristyn Trudgeon and Tom Doyle, who co-own the painting, had hired Mr. Haggerty to assist with its possible sale to London gallery owner Offer Waterman. Mr. Haggerty was ordered to take the painting to The Mark, where Mr. Waterman was staying, so he could see it in person. Ms. Trudgeon’s lawsuit, filed in New York Supreme Court, says hotel security footage shows Haggerty leaving the painting at the front desk and entering the hotel’s bar with Waterman at 11 p.m. At 11:30 p.m., the two men return to the lobby, retrieve the painting and have a discussion. “Something just didn’t feel right and I didn’t want to be involved,” Waterman told the New YorkDaily News. “So I said no, and I said goodbye.” The lawsuit alleges Haggerty redeposited the painting at the front desk and returned to the hotel bar, where he stayed for 90 minutes. At that point, he returned to the lobby and stumbled out of the hotel with the painting, declining a doorman’s offer to call him a taxi. Haggerty finally returned home at 2:30 a.m.—without the painting. The next morning, he phoned Mr. Doyle to inform the owner he could no longer account for the million-dollar-plus painting’s whereabouts. “I think he’s a complete fumbling idiot,” Ms. Trudgeon was quoted as saying in the New York Daily News. “He’s just a complete asshole.”
Sometimes life hands you lemons, and when that happens, you’re stuck squeezing the shit out of those lemons onto fried fish in hopes of extracting some flavor and thanking sweet baby Jesus you ordered the regular peas, not the mushy peas. Am I right? Or are you all wondering just how drunk I am, or if I’ve lost my mind and, in either case, what in God’s name I’m babbling about?
Ask any aficionado to list the foundational texts of cyberpunk and you will surely hear mention of William Gibson's 1984 debut novel, Neuromancer. Cyberpunk, for those not in the know, is a science-fiction sub-genre of urban-noir in which characters repurpose futuristic technologies to get by on the fringes of dystopian societies. Since those early days, the present has made great strides towards catching up with Gibson's imagined future. His latest cycle of books, which concludes with the just-released Zero History, examine our science-fictional present with the same skill set he once used to depict the 2030s. The Alibi caught up with Gibson through the magic of cellular technology in advance of his upcoming talk at the Albuquerque Public Library. In other words, the future is almost here.
I feel sorry for tomatillos, the way I used to feel for the last kid to get picked for kickball. Tomatillos languish on otherwise empty tables at the end of growers’ markets, often destined for the compost pile because they're nobody’s favorite. It's not their fault. It's just that nobody knows what to do with tomatillos.
Ah, September. The month when I have to start accounting for 20 minutes of extra travel time because I always get stuck in 15 mph school zones. (Wouldn’t it make sense to up the speed limit in the zones of schools that are known for athletics? Those kids are pretty fast.)
Hear that sound off in the distance? No, it’s not paranormal phenomena sometimes experienced by Northern New Mexicans who attended too many loud acid rock concerts back in the summer of love. It’s the second annual Taos Mountain Music Festival. On Sunday, Sept. 5, the Taos Ski Valley will host performances by Gov’t Mule, Yonder Mountain String Band, Shemekia Copeland, Radio La Chusma, Mia Borders and Mariachi Calor. In addition to live music, there’s a “Strawberry Fair” where food, drink, arts and crafts will be available for purchase, as well as a puppet-filled, bouncy castle-furnished, activity-laden “Kidzone” for little ones unimpressed by guitar solos. Tickets to the all-day fest are $42 in advance, $48 at the door—children under 10 get in for free. To purchase tickets, call (505) 886-1251 or go to taosmountainmusicfestival.com.
Because you never know when your bad chemicals may go on parade
By John Bear
The University of New Mexico Psychiatric Center (2600 Marble NE, 272-2800) offers a “full spectrum” of mental health and psychiatric care for citizens of New Mexico. According to hospitals.unm.edu, the center was established in 1967 and is the largest community mental health provider in the state with telehealth and telemedicine links throughout our communities, schools, corrections facilities and more. In 2008, the center admitted nearly 1,500 patients, while outpatient clinics experienced more than 190,000 visits, so they probably know their business.
Finding the next Nemo, Felix, Desdemona or Mr. Sprinkles
By John Bear
Sometimes you move from one city to another and show up a cat short. Cats are angry beasts and will run off when they sense something is personally unacceptable. Sometimes a significant other leaves and takes them. In either case, it’s important to move forward and quickly replace those missing kitties and pooches. Most importantly, you should adopt shelter pets. There are plenty of good animals waiting for homes. There’s no need to buy a $2,000 Mongolian vole hound when a perfectly fine mongrel can be had for less than $100. Hell, my cat Scoop Satanica ran me 10 bucks at a lucky sale at the Humane Society. She has, of course, since racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage and lost man hours.
When you need somebody, not just anybody, to extinguish the flames engulfing your car
By John Bear
Sometimes the police are necessary. I remember back in college I had some neighbors who threw a screaming kegger / vomit party every night of the week. They asked me to simply come over and tell them if they were being too loud. One time they savagely killed a goat. I found the police to be a better option. They will come over any time day or night, with guns, and tell the neighbors to be quiet. It’s a pretty good deal, needless to say. That so many police substations are memorials to fallen officers is worth noting and appreciating.
Should you become lost, just remember: The mountains are to the east.
By John Bear
For the truly new-to-Albuquerque, some explanation of how this town is laid out is necessary. While I was doing my research, I found there’s not a whole lot of information out there on the Trumbull and La Mesa neighborhoods, an area that’s been rebranded the “International District” in recent years. Locals once referred to it as the “Warzone.” I used to deliver pizzas in the neighborhood and never had a problem, so I’m sentimental about it and understand why residents of these neighborhoods resent the label. Of course, only the truly sub-moronic criminal element would mess with the pizza man, and here’s why: Pizza joints comp the local police with free pies. Anyone who screws with the pizza guy also screws with the boys in blue.
Personally, I refuse to gamble unless there are short people and horses involved. A jockey friend once told me that it’s a sucker game. Well, with God as my witness, I am that sucker. There is no better day than one spent at a horse track—the fresh air, the beautiful animals, the chain-smoking old men inside playing the simulcast races. Ah, sweet: looking through the program to find the oddly named creature to wager my two dollars on and then yelling as he or she runs the mud track, the trumpet music, the ridiculous jockey uniforms, the old Mexican men and their long-toed boots.
Three nature-filled trips that are close to home and far from ordinary
By John Bear
Get out and see some wildlife before it’s all gone. New Mexico is home to seven federal refuges, two of which are fairly close to Albuquerque. Visit fws.gov/southwest/refuges/nmrefuges.htmlfor a full list of federal preserves in New Mexico.
Sometimes a person needs a couple of bucks to get through.
There are always banks, loan sharks and parents. Title loan businesses advertise being able to help a person make it to payday or borrow money to go on vacation. Of course, they don’t mention that interest is so high, the borrower may end up rolling bidi cigarettes in a shop in Karachi.
That leaves you with the old standard: the pawn shop. (Some of the title loan joints are trying to pass themselves off as pawn shops, by the way.) I recently traded a set of wedding rings for bagpipes, wedding rings not being an item that is transferable to the next fiancée. It turns out diamonds aren’t forever. But bagpipes are.
Two first-edition paperbacks of Breakfast of Champions can’t be wrong
By John Bear
Ah, the recycled life—thrift stores, resale shops and vintage clothing boutiques. Where else can one procure a bowling shirt, a used copy of Lolita and a Herb Alpert record in one stop? Spend a buck or two at these joints and defeat the big-box bullies.
My favorite Vietnamese restaurants are the durable type. With worn floors, and few frills beyond a TV on mute and perhaps a jungle of real and fake plants, those tired-looking dives are often full of Vietnamese customers, and for good reason. They serve the real stuff, unfiltered and unedited for an American audience.
Half a block from the children’s hospital in Minneapolis is a comfortable old Victorian house that’s been converted into a health clinic dedicated to teenagers. Patients don’t have to grapple with the monolithic main hospital or sit in waiting rooms stuffed with crying babies and coughing seniors. Instead of dealing with terse or stodgy providers, they are seen by staff members who are experts in adolescent health care and who, most importantly, actually enjoy teenagers.
The chupacabra hasn’t reared its ugly head in Albuquerque lately. In fact, it’s been almost exactly three years since the last local sighting on the Westside. But many believe the creatures are out there, sucking the blood from goats (chupacabra means “goatsucker” in Spanish) and other livestock. Descriptions of the chupacabra vary widely, but the typical version is a creature 4 to 5 feet tall. It has short, powerful legs, long claws, and terrifying black or glowing red eyes. Some claim it has spikes down its back; others report seeing stubby, bat-like wings.
Dateline: Japan—A 30-year-old factory worker has pleaded guilty to burning down his family’s home after his mother threw out some of his action figures. Yoshifumi Takabe testified in Kobe District Court in western Japan that he became suicidal after losing several of his toy robots. Yoshifumi described the toys as partners with which he wanted to spend his life, ABC News Australia reports. In retaliation for his mother’s housecleaning, Yoshifumi poured kerosene inside the home and torched it, saying he wanted to die in the fire with his other “precious” robots. According to reports, the bulk of Yoshifumi’s action figure collection consisted of toys from the popular Gundam animated series. The fanboy’s 55-year-old mother told the court she frequently complained to her son that the toys were cluttering the house. She said there were enough to fill 300 boxes. The fire, which was set on Aug. 9 of last year, completely destroyed the family’s two-story wooden house. No one was injured. Presumably, all of Yoshifumi’s Gundam figures were lost in the blaze.
Romantic comedy about long-distance relationships comes up short
By Devin D. O’Leary
It’s common knowledge that you don’t go into a restaurant 10 minutes before closing time—odds are you’re gonna get served warmed-up leftovers, end-pieces and floor sweepings by people who just wanna go home already. The same is true, more or less, of the film industry. By September, the general population is back at school/work, the vacation funds have dried up and box office receipts have plunged precipitously. As a result, you aren’t gonna see a bunch of $100 million blockbusters hitting the local cineplex this time of year. The action movies, horror flicks and romantic comedies you’re getting from now until Thanksgiving are all gonna be strictly C-grade material.
Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block has become so crowded with live-action series (“Children’s Hospital,” “Look Around You,” “The Mighty Boosh,” “Delocated”) that it’s getting to be a treat to see an actual cartoon. Thankfully, CN is adding a couple of major new animated shows this month with the cartoon spin-off of MAD Magazine (called, simply, “MAD”) and the ironically titled “Regular Show.”
Referencing the innovative producer-turned-puffy-wigged-murderer, The Kill Spectors are a psych-punk duo split between Austin and Northern New Mexico. The geographic conundrum has made for a slow-paced start. Few have heard, much less witnessed, the band’s '60s girl group and early punk-inspired rocking. But while the story of The Kill Spectors begins at the end of 2009, the bigger story starts years ago.
A Life in the Theatre makes stage acting seem like writing: You throw your soul into the black and uncaring void until you go crazy. At least actors can see the audience, out there in the dark. A writer has to assume people are picking up the paper. Maybe I’m just being dramatic.
SITE Santa Fe tries to extend its branches a little too far
By Patricia Sauthoff
I remember the exact moment I fell in love with moving image arts. It was September of 2002, somewhere on the upper spiral of New York City’s Guggenheim Museum. I entered a little room and there, projected on the wall, was Shirin Neshat’s “Passage,” an approximately 12-minute film depicting the funeral processions of Iranian men and women. I happened to walk into the screening room just at the beginning of the film and sat through it twice, unable to articulate what I had just seen and felt. Afterward, I wandered through the rest of the exhibition Moving Pictures in something of a daze.
An all-you-can-sit-through buffet is on the menu for theater lovers this week with three plays opening around town. Let’s go through this in alphabetical order so it’s easier to remember. First, Crimes of the Heart, the Pulitzer Prize-winning story of three down-on-their-luck sisters who reunite as adults, plays at The Vortex (2004 1/2 Central SE). Crimes opens Friday, Sept. 3, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 26. Tickets for the Friday and Saturday (8 p.m.) and Sunday (6 p.m.) shows cost $15—except for Sunday, Sept. 5, which is pay-what-you-wish. Get ’em at vortexabq.org. Next, the search for an elusive whale takes the stage with Mother Road Theatre Company’s Moby Dick at The Filling Station (1024 Fourth Street SW). Thursday and Friday shows start at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Moby Dick runs from Friday, Sept. 3, to Sunday, Sept. 26. Tickets are $16 and are over at motherroad.org. Finally, an imaginary conversation between Picasso and Einstein is the setting for Auxiliary Dog’s Picasso at the Lapin Agile. This one also runs from Sept. 3 to Sept. 26, with 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday shows and 2 p.m. Sunday performances. Picasso will set you back $14 and you’ll have to call 254-7716 for tickets.
When the sun sets in Grand Isle, La., it casts a fiery glow around the marshland. It sinks slowly, igniting long, wispy clouds. Orange light stretches along Louisiana Highway 1. The large amounts of oil stuck to the rims of the area’s thousands of marshes turn green stalks of grass into yellow kindling. Despite the abundant fuel, the ocean swallows the blood-red disc and begins to reflect the cool night sky.
After Hurricane Katrina, Grand Isle, La., an island with a population of about 1,500 people, was in ruins. But fishermen there say the BP oil spill is much worse. “Katrina in New Orleans is nothing compared to what this is,” Harry Cheramie says. “This here is totally different. ... How do we help each other? What do we do?"
There's a U.S. Air Force Base in the middle of Seoul, South Korea. If the myths of the American expatriate community are to be believed, they've got a Taco Bell in there. After three or four months of nothing but gim,bap and gimbap, I’ve witnessed otherwise-reasonable American civilians so thirsty for Fire Sauce they start to plan insurrections and armed raids. While I was in Seoul, my craving for Enchiritos never reached such a fever pitch, but I finally understood that urge to overthrow the government this morning when I went to ride my bike out by Kirtland Air Force Base.
Dateline: Switzerland—A motorist has been slapped with the largest speeding ticket in his country’s history after being clocked going two-and-a-half times the posted speed limit. The 37-year-old man was driving a $200,000 Mercedes SLS when he was pulled over by traffic police. The driver apparently evaded a number of stationary radar detectors located along the A12 highway between Bern and Lausanne because he was going too fast. The stationary detectors are only capable of clocking speeds up to 200 km/h (125 mph). Eventually, he was snapped by a speed camera hitting 300 km/h (186 mph). “We have no record of anyone being caught traveling faster in the country,” a police spokesperson was quoted as saying in the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper. The driver was traveling so fast, in fact, that it took him more than half a mile to come to a stop when police tried to pull him over. He told officers his speedometer was faulty. Speeding fines in Switzerland are calculated by taking into consideration both the severity of the infraction and the income of the motorist. As a result, the unnamed speed demon will be forking over $1 million in fines.
At performances by The Parson Red Heads, audiences can expect upbeat, folksy, multi-harmony rock and roll with psychedelic traces, and, most likely, special treatment. It is a major concern of the band’s to make sure you get your money’s worth and possibly participate in the show.
By day, Matt Uhlman creates dramatic replicas of flaming swords and bloody severed heads as prop master for the New Orleans Opera—one of, if not the oldest opera in the U.S. By night, when not playing guitar with his garage punk band the Royal Pendletons, Matty can be found in any number of bars making people dance to selections from his vast record collection. He co-hosts both the Alligator Chomp! Chomp!, which specializes in Louisiana music, and the Mod Dance Party, an evening of ’60s worship that this week celebrates 10 years of hot and sweaty all-nighters.
This summer, bestie bands Little Gold (country psych from New York) and Lovey Dovies (hardcore pop from New Orleans) are on tour together. See them play on Monday, Aug. 30, at Burt’s Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW) with local Lake Of Wire—read the pick in this week’s calendars for more. The free show begins at 9 p.m. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Despite Sarah Palin and New Mexico’s dueling female gubernatorial candidates, not that many women run for office, according to Jennifer Lawless. Why the heck not? Lawless, a professor of government at the American University, argues in her bookIt Still Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office that there are many reasons, including that women don’t feel as qualified as men—even the ones who are at the height of their professions. She also believes women are less likely than men to be encouraged to run in the first place. For example, in Congress, the House has 357 men and only 78 women, while the Senate has 82 men and 18 women. That’s a huge difference. Find out why and what can be done to even the numbers out a bit when Lawless speaks at Bookworks (4022 Rio Grande NW) at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 26. bkwrks.com/event/lawless has more info on the event.
No need to shhh! when you’re downloading from home
By Khyber Oser
The news sent shock waves through the publishing industry: In the second fiscal quarter, amazon.com—the world’s largest online book retailer—had sold more electronic books than hardbacks for the very first time.
The 42nd annual Bubonicon science-fiction and fantasy convention will take place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Albuquerque Grand Airport Hotel. This year’s guest of honor is writer Peter David. David is best known for his work at Marvel Comics (where he helped revive “The Incredible Hulk” in the ’80s). He also penned a few movies for Charles Band back in the Full Moon glory days. Trancers 4: Jack of Swords, Trancers 5: Sudden Deth, Oblivion and Oblivion 2: Backlash are all his work. They’re kind of crummy and kind of fun, and Oblivion does actually predate Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” as a sci-fi Western—so be sure and ask him about that. In other film-related events, the convention will screen the 2005 version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (this being Bubonicon 42) beginning at 9 p.m. on Saturday. There will also be a late-night screening of the locally shot horror thriller Fugue State at 11 p.m. If you don’t have a day pass to Bubonicon (available online at bubonicon.com) you can get into the movie screenings for $3.Bubonicon
Today, many cable networks seem to be chafing at their self-imposed genres and trying to “expand their programming” (read: “add a bunch of cheap reality shows”) beyond what would appear to be dictated by their very name. (Syfy, for example. Or the Game Show Network.) Remember when G4, the video game channel, actually had programming dedicated to video games? Good luck finding any of that these days.
My first husband and I drove through New Orleans in 1974, moving from Florida to the Land of Enchantment. We searched the French Quarter for lunch and stopped at a well-lit, noisy place. What I remember most was the shrimp étoufée—a spicy, tomatoey stew dished over a generous pile of rice. It was terrific, though I had no basis for comparison, being a novice in the world of Louisiana cooking. That was long before Katrina, Rita and BP heaped their misfortunes on the Gulf. Despite the challenges of rebuilding, the city maintains a robust attitude when it comes to living well—especially when it comes to food.
Tips on ordering right from the Alibi’s restaurant critic
By Ari LeVaux
When dining out, sharing food at the table is fun. Passing dishes around or eating “family-style” are a beautiful ways to eat together. Except, it turns out, when you order better than your companions.