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 V.22 No.47 | November 21 - 27, 2013 

Gift Guide

Retro Like Whoa

A guide to shopping Burque past

Commercial buildings in downtown Albuquerque, circa 1960s
Bainbridge Bunting via UNM Center for Southwest Research
Commercial buildings in downtown Albuquerque, circa 1960s

If you totally want to have the most bitchin’ holiday season ever, carnales, step into my notoriously unreliable yet still predictably glitchy time machine. Then proceed to engage in a gift-buying and food-eating frenzy that would rival even the 1976 version of Elton John vs. Rodeo Drive.

Of course you wouldn’t have to saunter off to Califas for that sort of action. I’ll just keep the physical location calibration settings low, sabes, so no matter where you drift on the temporal plane, you'll still be right here in Burque.

In 1984, [The Freed Company] was filled with a wide array of cultural artifacts, a collection of rare and precious objects—toys, jewelry, clothing and ritual implements—from a pre-globalized, pre-digitized world.

Since you probably want to be back in time for all those hip ugly-sweater parties, I’m gonna start the countdown now. Go put on your space helmet and pressure suit. I left you some notes in your right hip pocket. Be careful of that first step, though; it might seem like a void opening up, but really it’s just like falling asleep.

First, we set the controls for this time of year but in 1984. After we leave the rig on campus—disguised as an unwitting undergraduate’s public sculpture project—walk Downtown and over to The Freed Company. That was the name of an import shop that opened in Burque in 1920. By 1971, the place was located at 415 Central NW. You may know it as all-ages venue Amped Performance Space, but the sign and ornate Pueblo Deco iron gate reveals the place’s true identity.

After casually examining the bins [at Bow Wow Records], pick up a copy of the latest Resin Records release. It's a 7-inch by The Drags.

In 1984, it was filled with a wide array of cultural artifacts, a collection of rare and precious objects—toys, jewelry, clothing and ritual implements—from a pre-globalized, pre-digitized world. After waving to my friends Phil and Max—who are out back unpacking a crate from Tibet—buy a tin-and-antelope-horn prayer wheel for your brother and a strand of polished jade for your sister.

Then walk back toward the ship. You can stop by Pup ’n‘ Taco on Edith for their three-coney special. Ready? Now we set the controls for early December 1994, and trek up to Bow Wow Records. If you're worried about running into an old flame, you'll probably need a disguise for this part of the mission. I’m sure there’s one onboard, somewhere—Peter Sellers or something. After casually examining the bins, pick up a copy of the latest Resin Records release. It's a 7-inch by The Drags; the A-side is “I Like to Die,” and it’s backed by “Mindbender” and “Seven Dollar Bologna.” I don't know about your loved ones, but my wife sure is a fan.

After handing over some feria for the disc, bail over to Lomas and Carlisle via patamobile and check out skate shoes at the Beach Zone. You can score dark green Vans high-tops, which is the ginchiest news of the day, brothers and sisters, because you gotta treat yourself right during the holidays, too.

Your return to the temporal dislocation unit—now craftily disguised as a duck floating on a pond in the middle of a large Southwestern state university—will be uneventful. And under the cover of darkness and feathers, you may choose to retreat further back into our burg’s past in search of unique gifts.

You'll almost certainly end up spending some plata in 1978. Let's park up in the Heights on this expedition, so we'll probably disguise the device as a safety-orange Ford Fiesta and use the SunTran to zip from mall to mall. Winrock was really happening back then, but so was the Wyoming Mall. Acquire a pack of TV Magic Cards at Fool’s Paradise and a tastefully modern but ultimately traditional Japanese print from Yonamoto’s for your father and mother, respectively. After a late lunch at the Spaghetti Machine, ride all the way out to the Allsup’s—on the corner of Juan Tabo and Montgomery—and pick up two dozen burritos to take around town as party favors.

For just about every other soul on your list, let's make a special trip to 1962 and visit Kistler-Collister’s fab, new Midtown location on San Mateo and Lomas. Behind the faux-Brutalist, neo-Pueblo Revival tendencies in the department store’s upscale suburban presentation, there are bound to be bargains galore with designer names stitched onto those ties, scarves, sweaters, watches and hats.

Finally, while we can still use an actual time machine, let's jet into the future—say 200 years from now—and bring back something really cool like peace on earth or interstellar travel. Those gifts would be, like, seriously gnarly.


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