Finnish filmmaker goes Gallic for sentimental silent film tribute
By Devin D. O’Leary
In a year that celebrates the closed-mouth, open-eyed history of film by handing a Best Picture nomination to Michel Hazanavicius’ silent masterpiece The Artist, it seems only appropriate that we’d get another film from Finnish writer-director Aki Kaurismäki. Throughout his distinctively oddball indie film career (Leningrad Cowboys Go America, Drifting Clouds, The Match Factory Girl, The Man Without a Past), Kaurismäki has always shown a greater kinship to the silent film technicians of yesteryear than to the media-savvy moviemakers of today. His latest effort, the alternately gritty and whimsical modern fairy tale Le Havre, plays out like a politically minded remake of Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid.
The first thing everyone points out about FOX’s new series “Alcatraz”—and I guess I’m doing it, too—is that it’s another mysterious, island-based sci-fi series from producer J.J. Abrams (who gave us a little thing called “Lost”). Unless the guy announces he’s rebooting “Fantasy Island” next, I wouldn’t get too worked up about the man’s creative obsessions, though.
Instituto Cervantes continues its Latin American film series this week at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. On Thursday, Feb. 2, the Bank of America Theatre at the NHCC (1701 Fourth Street SW) will screen the 2005 Ecuadorian film Anytime Soon (Esas No Son Penas). It’s the story of five women from Quito, buddies as teens, who reunite to visit an ailing friend after 15 years. Think The Big Chill, but with fewer hippies and more of an accent. The film screening is free and will be presented with English subtitles. Show gets underway at 7 p.m. Get there early to guarantee a seat.
French horn quartet fuses pop hits and classical training
By Sam Adams
Danielle Kuhlmann (aka Velvet Barbie) is one quarter of French horn quartet Genghis Barbie. Like the other members of her ensemble, she's a classically trained brass player who began her lessons in grade school. But rather than sticking to the traditional route of playing symphony halls and swanky tea-time luncheons, she and her bandmates decided to go pop.
New Mexico santeros and santeras on devotional folk art
By Lizzy von Stange
Saint-making is a devotional practice that tells the story of Catholic saints through retablos, panel paintings of saints, and bultos, hand-carved statues of saints. A talk on the subject at El Chante: Casa de Cultura on Saturday, Feb. 4., also features artwork from 14 New Mexican saint-makers in a show titled The Art of Devotion: Traditional and Contemporary.
In the fall, 516 ARTS put out a call for New Mexicans to submit pieces that would serve as the face of the gallery's five-year anniversary show. Nearly 300 artists responded with an eclectic range of works. 516 Executive Director Suzanne Sbarge decided to put the judging process in the hands of renowned critic Peter Frank, after they met while Frank was in town on assignment. He operates out of L.A. as associate editor of Fabrik magazine and as a contributor to the Huffington Post. Frank may not be local, but he says he has a soft spot and deep regard for art from the Southwest. He whittled down the pool of entrants to about 80 works, with each artist represented by one piece. It's the largest group show 516 has put on to date, with talent representing more than 30 cities statewide.
King’s bastilla has to be one of the craziest things I’ve ever eaten. A specialty at Kasbah, it looked like a flying saucer constructed out of phyllo dough. It was stuffed with a mix of chicken, almonds, cinnamon and eggs, then was dusted with sugar and splashed with rosewater. The flavors took off in so many ways at once I could hardly keep track of them all. I didn’t even know if I liked it, but I kept eating it.
Albuquerque's oldest independent record store closes shop
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
It's true, music fans. After decades of peddling CDs, tapes, videos, DVDs, vinyl records and other merchandise, Natural Sound is going the way of Bow Wow Records (where music was “a man's best friend"). Natural Sound's last day of business is Saturday, Jan. 28.
Over the course of five years in the early ’90s, Dr. Rick Strassman dosed 400 volunteers with DMT at the University of New Mexico. He spoke with us about his study, the Old Testament and alien abduction, among other things.
Music doc turns to fans for insider info on indie band
By Geoff Plant
In his first documentary, Friends (With Benefits) writer and director Gorman Bechard takes viewers through a chronological history of Minneapolis/St. Paul-based The Replacements, a post-punk quartet that once made a big splash in a small pond. Banding together in 1979, the pioneering alternative rockers lasted through the following decade almost despite themselves. Color Me Obsessed: A Film About the Replacements takes us on a trip down this musical backroad with the friends and fans who love them still serving as tour guides.
TV seems to have a very low opinion of us right now. Midseason replacement time is upon us, and we’re being assaulted by the likes of “Work It” (thankfully already canceled) and a sitcom starring Rob Schneider. (Seriously, what did we do to deserve that?) NBC, meanwhile, is making an all-out assault on our collective taste by pairing the execrable “Whitney” with the marginally less execrable “Are You There, Chelsea?” Both shows were no doubt generated at the roundtable of “Chelsea Lately,” the E! Network comedy chat show hosted by Chelsea Handler and frequented by Whitney Cummings.
Friends of Film, Video and Arts—the organizers of the fourth annual Laugh Out Loud Friends of Film Funny Film Festival—are looking for laughable local submissions. All works must be 15 minutes or less in length and postmarked by Monday, Jan. 30. It’s only $15 to enter the film of your choice. Winning submissions will be included in not one, but two film festivals: The LOLFFFFF (at Albuquerque’s Guild Cinema on March 31) and the Nickel Independent Film Festival in Canada (in June 2013). Cash prizes and other awards are up for grabs.
Brussels sprouts with bacon is hardly a new idea, but the combination has taken off lately. Now the pairing is a menu meme, a darling of online recipe searches and food TV. But those green brassica balls also go effortlessly and deliciously, for example, in that most vegetarian of dishes: the leafy salad.
Bicyclists spoke out about the first-ever bike ban on a 3,000-foot stretch of Chappell between Osuna and Singer. Signs stating "no bicycles" went up in early January. The city says that stretch is too dangerous for cycling.
Derek Caterwaul is a longtime promoter of local, underground culture. He’s a DJ on 89.9 KUNM FM’s “Music to Soothe the Savage Beast,” which airs Tuesday nights from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., and he has ties to the Mystery Media Free(k) box—formerly in the 200-block Cornell/Stanford alley—and now other free art boxes around town. Caterwaul is also responsible for Low Life, a DJ night at Blackbird Buvette (509 Central NW) that contains the sweet sounds of deep psych, garage, roots, post punk and punk, funk, and obscuro. On Thursday, Jan. 26, Low Life celebrates a one-year anniversary. This free, 21-and-over event includes guest DJs, free mixtapes and CDs, and video projections from Billy Da Bunny. Peer into Caterwaul’s music collection below.
Emily French has been murdered. The rich but lonely 56-year-old was whacked in the back of the head with a blunt object in the living room of her English townhouse. Young, handsome and broke Leonard Vole is suspected, since he only recently befriended Miss French and yet is the sole beneficiary of her will. But then there’s French’s bitter housekeeper to consider and Vole’s calculating foreign wife, Romaine. This is the setup for Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution, being staged by Albuquerque Little Theatre.
The only reason the death of this Iraq War veteran has attracted such attention is that he did not go alone. Had Barnes simply headed off into the frozen wilderness to die, his story would have been unexceptional. After all, scores of returning veterans, traumatized and afflicted, have committed suicide over the last decade.
MMA star Gina Carano debuts in one lean, mean action machine
By Devin D. O’Leary
Must be nice to be Steven Soderbergh. After kicking off the indie film revolution of the ’90s with sex, lies, and videotape, he went on to helm mainstream hits (Out of Sight, Ocean’s Eleven), Oscar winners (Erin Brockovich, Traffic), existential science-fiction films (Schizopolis,Solaris), micro-budget pay-per-view experiments (Bubble, The Girlfriend Experience) and even a TV series or two (“K Street,” “Unscripted”). Few, if any, filmmakers have had the freedom to build such a diverse résumé. Right now, Mr. Soderbergh could be producing and directing Ocean’s Fourteen and no one would be blinking an eye. Instead, he’s off making a low-budget, digital video action flick starring a first-time actor.
Dr. Rick Strassman stirred up both controversy and a cult following when he became the first doctor in 20 years to research the effects of psychedelic and hallucinogenic substances on human subjects. His work was carried out at the University of New Mexico’s School of Medicine right here in Albuquerque. Over the course of his project’s five-year life span, he administered approximately 400 doses of DMT to 60 volunteers and recorded their experiences.
Is ABC’s cross-dressing sitcom “Work It” the worst TV show ever made? Several critics are suggesting so. Me, I tend to doubt it. “Cop Rock” was pretty ridiculous. “Supertrain” was a notably bad idea. “Homeboys in Outer Space” didn’t do the world any favors. I defy any modern human to hunt down and sit through an episode of “She’s the Sheriff.” And despite the fact that 542 people actually subscribe to the “Out of This World” channel on YouTube, it was a brain-meltingly awful show. ... Which isn’t to say that “Work It” doesn’t give each and every one of them a run for their money.
Adobe Theater’s Irish-American drama is strong stuff
By Christie Chisholm
A Moon for the Misbegotten might just make you rethink your unhealthy obsessions. If you lust after the tortured Heathcliffs of the world (don’t we all?), it may coax you to consider putting down that penchant. If your days are a haze of drinking alone in the dark, well, maybe it’ll be the moment of clarity that finally sends you to AA ... or at least motivates you to consult an electrician.
A couple of guys sit around and shoot the shit. Sometimes it's over alcohol, coffee or food; sometimes it's in a dark room. Existential questions arise. A cloud of mystery looms heavy over the minimalist narrative. This is the theme of a lot of well-known scripts (The Seafarer, My Dinner with Andre and "The Dumb Waiter" come to mind). Another well-received guys-at-a-table piece is Derek Davidson's "Jack of Dover."
Underground dinner clubs pop up around Albuquerque
By Mina Yamashita
At 6 p.m., the September sun cast a rosy glow on the building across the street. I parked and my friend Mike checked the map. From the sidewalk, we saw a woman heading our way, red and white apron flapping in the wind.