The Eyes Have It
By Amy Dalness, former Alibi Arts Editor
Trying to pinpoint just one moment in time during my three years at the Alibi is a surprisingly challenging undertaking. On the day I applied for the calendars editor position, I was exactly one day late for the application deadline. I had grabbed an Alibi the night before to search for a job opening and saw the classified for the position ... with an application deadline of that day. Truth be told, the Alibi was the only publication in town this journalism major wanted to work for. I have to go for it, I thought, pulled together a mishmash of a cover letter and résumé and wandered sheepishly into the Alibi's office the next morning. Then-Editor-in-Chief Steven Robert Allen came up to the lobby to greet me with a smile and asked me back to his office to chat. The "chat" turned into an impromptu interview with the entire editorial department. It was my first, real, post-college job interview. I was sweating.
I left wanting to work for the Alibi more than ever—how down-to-earth everyone was, willing to take my day-late application and interview me while sitting on a plush couch in SRA's office. Plus, they had a keg in the rec room. I also left with a writing assignment: Go to a music show and write a review. No problem, I thought. I picked the only show that weekend I could attend: an all-girl punish garage group from Detroit called the Gore Gore Girls playing at Burt's. Just my kind of show. I arrived—sheepishly. This show and what I wrote about it would make or break my opportunity to work at the Alibi. I grabbed a drink and watched the other bands. I can't remember who played, but I do remember spotting then-Music Editor and future Editor-in-Chief Laura Marrich in the crowd. The pressure went up. Not only did my future job depend on this article, but now the person who would be assessing its content was at the show, so I knew I had no room to fake it.
The Gore Gore Girls played. I fixated on every detail. Especially the lead singers’ eyes—she glowered and bore into every single person in the audience. Like a wolf staring at sheep, but she was secretly vegetarian. It was a thrasher of a show.
Over the next few days I wrote my review. Read it, reworked it and finally emailed it to Steve. That was it. The one opportunity I had for the one job I wanted in Albuquerque was out of my hands. Two days later, Steve called me to offer me to job. I was stunned. And honored. And in for the experience of a lifetime.
Years later, I told Laura about how worried I was about her being at the Gore Gore Girls show. You nailed her eyes, she had said, your review took me right back to the show. I couldn't image a bigger compliment for my work.
Maybe this is a sappy account of my time at the Alibi, but what the Alibi did for me was help transform me from that sheepish college grad to a professional journalist with a go-get-'em attitude. I wouldn't be where or who I am today without the Alibi. So thanks for chewing me up and spitting me out tough as nails three years later, you crazy monkeys. And here's to another 20 years of kicking ass and taking names.
Since leaving the Alibi in 2008, Amy Dalness spent a few years working as the director of Albuquerque's Teen Arts and Entertainment Center, Warehouse 508, before venturing to train in marital arts in Korea and do some side work as a personal trainer. She works as a copy writer and editor for the marketing department at a locally owned jewelry supply company, and does stunt and production work on independent films on the side. She also coaches swimming and hopes to compete in her first Olympic-length triathlon next year.
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