French-Canadian classroom drama teaches a lesson on healing
By Devin D. O’Leary
Inspirational teacher stories have long been a staple of the movie industry. But few of these live-and-learn dramas have had the quiet, unadorned impact of Canada’s Academy Award nominee Monsieur Lazhar.
Driving home while thinking about the cultural profoundity of events like Weekly Alibi’s upcoming Best of Burque Music Showcase—which is happening on Saturday evening, March 24, downtown, in case you did not know that fact—led me to the shores of ghetto Smith’s where I repaired to the produce section for some fresh fruit to calm my florid mind.
Blackout innovates with a trio of domicile-driven love stories
By Leigh Hile
A philandering poet, a pair of clowns and a woman on the verge of burning her house down. These are several of the characters played by Jeff Andersen and Lila Martinez in Blackout Theatre Company’s latest original work, Stories of Us: A Guide to Home Improvement.
If I hear one more damned story about the zombie apocalypse, I swear I’ll ... read it like all the others that came before. Sure, the blogosphere may be sensationalizing a series of horrific events that have ended in people being shot, eaten and internally microwaved by bad acid. But whether these events are happening on the streets of Florida or prime time TV on AMC, there are those of us who can’t help but gnaw on tales that depict a doomed world full of undead cannibals. If you need insight into why we like this kind of sick shit, just ask your friend the horror-buff film major if you can see her thesis paper on sociopolitical metaphor in the work of George Romero. (Trust me, she’s written one.)
The White Sands International Film Festival has worked hard to build itself up over the years. The festival—which moved from Alamogordo to Las Cruces in 2009—takes place Wednesday, Aug. 22, through Sunday, Aug. 26. This year’s Opening Night Showcase kicks it off with Bringing Up Bobby, a drama about a European con artist and her son who find themselves stuck in rural Oklahoma. The film is directed by actress Famke Janssen, who will be in attendance. Other invited guests include the film’s main stars, Milla Jovovich and Bill Pullman. Emmy-nominated actor Jeffrey Tambor (“Arrested Development”) will present his one-man show / seminar on “Performing Your Life.” Other workshops and panel discussions include one on independent filmmaking and a look back at “100 Years of Movie Making in New Mexico.” Noted screenwriter and award-winning playwright Mark Medoff will present “Screenwriting: The Hero’s Journey.” More than 100 features, shorts and documentaries will be screened over the course of the five-day event. Things culminate on Sunday night with the re-screening of the award winners for Best Feature, Best Documentary, Audience Award and Best Director. Events will take place at the Black Box Theater, the Rio Grande Theater and the Cineport 10.
Sound the trumpets! The Weekly Alibi turns the page on its millennial issue this week. That's 1,000 editions of the best food, film, news and entertainment coverage ever to lay ink on this great City of Duke. We drew from this pool of past insight to put together our annual Survival Guide.
There are several relatively lucrative ways to sell your body without ending up handcuffed in the back of a patrol car at one o'clock in the morning, screaming for your mama. Even if you've got no education and no marketable skills, you can still make a few bucks here and there by selling yourself—all perfectly legal, I assure you.
Alibi fast-food critic Nick Brown knows a thing or two about survival. A member of the highly secretive Green Chile Militia for the past 19 years, he spends three weeks every summer training with fellow survivalists deep in the Gila Wilderness near Silver City.
I'm walking up Central at 5 p.m. against a cold wind. It's January, and dusk is quickly turning into night as I stride east, mall walker-style, toward my evening class at UNM. Only a block into the journey at Central and High Street, a man yells at me from a large, moving truck. I don't catch the particular crass flattery, but do get an earful of "Wooooo!" A loud honk follows and the vehicle speeds away. Humiliated and angry, I want gestured and spoken obscenities to flow forth and assault these degenerates, but for fear of retribution all I can do is seethe. As I continue walking—under I-25, past Presbyterian, by abandoned and defiled storefronts, passing hooker upon drug-addled hooker—I can now only see the city's ugliness and despair. Along the way I am heckled three more times.
The floodwaters are rising, the earth is quaking, zombies are breaking down your back door and you have a house full of dinner guests (of the living kind). Your first instinct may be to pop open a can of Dinty Moore, but you can do better than that. The key to surviving extreme circumstances is to not give up. Do not give up hope, and do not give up your basic human need for fine foods.
So you’re stuck in the wilderness with five of your closest buddies. You've run out of food and rescue is beginning to look unlikely. Though no one has brought it up, you’re all wondering who is going to be eaten first.
Thousands of people say they were abducted by aliens, and you might be worried you’ll be next. If you suddenly find yourself floating out your bedroom window toward a mother ship hovering somewhere over the South Valley, take the following steps. You should memorize this list; if you keep it by your bedside table, you will likely be paralyzed and unable to reach for it—or your glasses—as you are tractor-beamed toward the ET visitors.
Who knows what you should and shouldn't do in college? Not us, really. Plus, you probably won't listen to anyone, you animal. We're tired. We're world-worn. We've got bags under our eyes. Maybe that qualifies us as advice-givers after all. Humor us.
King Tuff is the alias and band of Brattleboro, Vt. native and L.A. resident Kyle Thomas. His music varies from mellow psychedelia to blazing power pop. Imbued with Mr. Tuff’s righteous guitar parts, every bit of it is worthy of earnest Bic salutations or fully engaged fist pumps. You can see King Tuff play live on Monday at the Launchpad with similarly amazing L.A. band Audacity. In the meantime, eavesdrop on the telephone conversation King Tuff and I had about jock jams and the magic of music. And I totally was not the stoned one.
From the Alibi vaults: In 2005 Laura Marrich and Jessica Cassyle Carr rescued a bunch of old local band promo photos from the trash. In the years since, Laura has been their guardian (... or, at least, she kept them in a pile in the back of her filing cabinet). Sure, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be, but here are some of the best shots:
Gwyneth's birthday freaktacular features the rock stylings of SuperGiant, Fatso, Icky & The Yuks and Mother Death Queen. Take in the spectacle on Saturday, Aug. 18, beginning at 9:30 p.m. at the Launchpad (618 Central SW). Admission to the 21-and-over event is $5. (JCC)
State PAC contributions show deep partisan fissures
By Margaret Wright
In the spring primary election season, state political action committees spent nearly $4 million. It’s only reasonable to expect that the funding game will intensify during the looming general election.
Albuquerque is seduced by Walmart, a placeless place where, once inside, you could be anywhere in the country. It's a shame we're looking at plopping a big-box store in one of the most unique places in the city.
The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity traveled from the top to the bottom of Mexico in a "caravan of consolation" to demand an end to the drug war and the violence it entails. On Saturday, Aug. 18, it comes to Albuquerque.
Psychotropic sci-fi film drops countless references to cult films past
By Devin D. O’Leary
How are you at cult film trivia? Canadian director Panos Cosmatos digs three decades deep into the back shelves of the video store (if such a thing still exists) for his first writing-directing effort, the brain-twisting, eye-bending, ’80s-inspired, horror/sci-fi head trip Beyond the Black Rainbow
Looking around, there are plenty of bellwethers for The End of Civilization as We Know It. For you, it may be global climate change. Or gay marriage. Or the end of the Mayan calendar. Whatever floats your boat, people. If I were to pick my poison, I’d have to say the unending tidal wave of reality television shows is a cultural death rattle of Doomsday proportions. Galloping high and proud as the lead Horseman of that particular Apocalypse is TLC’s new series “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”
The Albuquerque Film Festival returns for another try this weekend. The fourth annual fest will take place Thursday, Aug. 16, through Sunday, Aug. 19, at KiMo Theatre. The theme this year is “Aliens & Outlaws.” Organizers have curtailed some of the more local and independent films to make room for well-known sci-fi films like E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Heavy Metal, Donnie Darko, Mad Max, The Goonies and Repo Man (most of which have been featured at Alibi Midnight Movie Madness screenings). There are a handful of local productions worth checking out, though. Thursday at 5:40 p.m., there will be a selection of New Mexico-made shorts: “The Rebound,” “20 Ways,” “Placed” and “The Man-App.” Friday at 4 p.m., we get Milagro Man: The Irrepressible Multicultural Life and Literary Times of John Nichols. The celebrated New Mexico author (The Milagro Beanfield War, The Wizard of Loneliness) is scheduled to be in attendance for a post-film book signing. Friday at 7 p.m., there’s a world premiere for Home Sweet Home, a micro-budgeted horror thriller shot in Alamogordo. On Sunday at 10 a.m., the festival will be screening the local web series “Flock,” about a Bible school con-man. This year’s Dennis Lee Hopper Lifetime Achievement Award winner is cult filmmaker Alex Cox. If you missed your chance to see him last year at Guild Cinema, he’s back introducing his films Repo Man and Walker in a Saturday double feature starting at 9 p.m. The festival closes out on Sunday night at 9 p.m. with the local premiere of the Japanese drama New World, which is being distributed by Santa Fe’s own Tidepoint Pictures.
An international symposium and its underground offshoot
By Margaret Wright
Cultural geographer Ronald Horvath wasn’t thinking of a specific place when he conjured the concept of “machine wilderness” in the ’60s. It helped him describe what he saw taking place across the American Southwest, as technology gradually transfigured the feral landscape. But the phrase describes New Mexico well. And it’s the driving force behind this year’s International Symposium on Electronic Art, taking place here in Albuquerque in September.
Mother Road opens doors to the public in advance of its September production
By Leigh Hile
Taps flowed, pizza was passed around and old friends joked together in the basement of JC’s NYPD pizzeria. As the cast and crew of Mother Road Theatre Company’s upcoming production of The Killer Angels gathered for its first rehearsal, the air hummed. I felt that familiar flutter as the first page of the script turned. Here we go! I thought to myself. This is the best part—the part where the magic of making a play all begins.
Like the increasingly popular vegan versions of Thai food that are popping up around town, sushi is starting to catch the Tofurky Syndrome. This is what I call the attempt to make animal-product-like food out of animal-product-free ingredients—Tofurky being, essentially, tofu in the shape, color, and arguably flavor and texture of turkey. In the Thai restaurants that go vegan, this translates into a colorful assortment of protein pretenders that you can’t help but be impressed by, even if you think it’s a bit silly.
How Sears, Roebuck & Co. midwifed the birth of the blues
By Chris Kjorness
In the popular telling, Delta blues musicians were tragic figures, singing out for personal solace. Though romantic, this story ignores the spirit of the bluesman himself, and the commercial and technological advances of the early 1900s.
Once again, we’re in the middle of two sad American cycles: senseless, lethal violence and the slew of specious arguments that inevitably follow, flying hither and yon like, well, bullets that never quite hit the mark.
With the rise of the super PAC, so too have emerged watchdog groups that track spending, donors, leaders and beneficiaries. We found OpenSecrets enormously helpful in compiling this list of the big-money political groups today. But that ranking of who’s on top will shift dramatically in the coming weeks, so it’s best to keep a close eye on roster. ProPublica’s PAC track tool is also useful and easy to parse.
At a Korean superstore in Las Vegas, I watched an employee whose sole job, it seemed, was organizing a vast array of kimchee. Her domain consisted of thousands of plastic tubs of fermented fish and vegetables in various combinations, usually spicy. She darted about the immense display cases and scrutinized the tubs' arrangement, rearranging their contents like beads on a giant abacus.
The first time I drove through Las Vegas, I had no idea what lay hidden beyond the freeway exits. I remember a Chinese restaurant along the main gas/food drag, and any number of New Mexican restaurants and familiar fast foods. But I’ve since embarked down the side streets to get a closer look at what was once a boomtown. It’s a nice outing just 125 miles from Burque, through verdant hills and open grasslands.
An interview with directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
By Devin D. O’Leary
Six years ago, music video superstars Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris took a break from making clips for Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Smashing Pumpkins and R.E.M. to direct their first feature film. That indie dramedy, titled Little Miss Sunshine, went on to gross more than $100 million at the box office and locked down four Academy Award nominations.
Top 10 things I’ve learned while watching the 2012 Summer Olympics
By Devin D. O’Leary
The Olympics are designed to instill in participants—and by extension, viewers—the principles of cooperation, team spirit, individual merit, sportsmanship, strength, bravery, tenacity, skill and international brotherhood. Most of what I absorbed from watching this year’s competition, however, involved the number of free condoms issued in Olympic Village (150,000!) and the mistaken belief that eating mass quantities of McDonald’s food will make you a great athlete. So, with the games coming to a close this weekend, I look back on all the things I learned from the XXX Summer Olympics.
The seven-film retrospective tribute to Akira Kurosawa comes to an end this Thursday night at KiMo Theatre with the master’s final period drama, 1985’s Ran. The film is an epic, majestic retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear saga set in feudal Japan. It certainly demands to be seen on the big screen and is a great film to close out the series on. The screening will take place on Aug. 9 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 to $7.
This typeface is not absurdly tough, yet its pointiness and near-illegibility lends a special aura of mystery that suggests magic, action and adventure. Find those things on Friday, Aug. 10, at the Launchpad (618 Central SW). Tenderizor, Glitter Dick, Contortionist and Drought conjure rainbows in the dark (and the like) beginning at 9:30 p.m. Admission is 21-and-over and $5. (JCC)
Jessica Kostelnick’s installation plays house at The Tan
By Leigh Hile
Jessica Kostelnick describes her new installation at the Tan Gallery, Living Hand to Mouth, as “ sort of like a weird Pee-Wee’s Playhouse kind of thing.” The interior—composed of mediums including furniture, sculpture and costume—does evoke a certain fun-house feel, straddling the balance between childlike playfulness and disturbing distortion.
Rob Reid is the guy who invented Rhapsody, the music streaming service thing you may have heard about. His first book, Year Zero, concerns aliens who’ve stumbled upon Earth music, which has caused their civilization to come to a complete halt because they’re so hooked.
At first glance, painter Melissa Morgan's Enter Anthropocene embraces an ethereal, flower-childlike bond between humans and nature. But that's where Cassidy Watt—owner of Metallo Gallery (2863 Hwy. 14, Madrid)—says Morgan shows her sleight of hand for subtle metaphor. "There is a celebration in the paintings because they're very beautiful and pretty," says Watt, "but I think there's also a warning there."