Alibi V.13 No.3 • Jan 15-21, 2004

feature

Feature

A local developer says he'll build homes in the Bosque. City officials want the land for open space. But where will they get the money to buy it?

It's hard to imagine a subdivision built into the Rio Grande Bosque for the simple reason that from any bridge in Albuquerque, as far as the eye can see, not a single home exists there.

art

Culture Shock

This month, Albuquerque's gallery tour, Artscrawl, stretches its paint-stained tentacles across the entire city for a gigantic city-wide art event encompassing 28 galleries located in almost every neighborhood in the city. The event will also feature an Art Benefit Raffle in support of the organizers. Raffled items will include original art work as well as various classes and certificates. Tickets can be purchased at any participating gallery for $2, or $10 for a book of six.

Original Sin

All My Sons at the Vortex Theatre

In 1944, Joe Keller and Steve Deever owned a factory that manufactured parts for military airplanes. One day, Steve discovered that some cylinders they were making had cracks in them, so he called Joe at home to ask him what to do. Joe, who claimed to have the flu, told him to weld over the cracks and ship out the cylinders, saying he'd take responsibility for the flawed parts. As a result, a few weeks later several planes crashed on the same day resulting in the deaths of 21 men.

Jungle Fever

Mariposa Gallery

The Mariposa Gallery has been a staple of Albuquerque's arts scene for three decades. In other words, when the Mariposa opened shop, I was still grooving to Captain Kangaroo. In celebration of this distinguished longevity, the gallery will present its 30th annual invitational theme show. This year the show is titled Jungle Fever and will feature sweaty tropical work by Amanda Tinsley, Drew Coduti, Margi Weir, Kevin Burgess, Lee McCormick and Hilarey Walker. The show opens with a reception this Friday, Jan. 16, from 5 to 9 p.m. It runs through Feb. 22. 268-6828.

Red Visions

God is Red: A Native View of Religion (30th Anniversary Edition)

food

The Specter of "Semi-homemade" meals

A convenience food craze serves up hot air at high prices

OK, so you pop open a tube of Pillsbury dough, spoon on some Pace Picante salsa, unzip a packet of pre-shredded pizza cheese mix, throw the thing in the oven and congratulations, Dr. Frankenstein! You've created a Mexican pizza monster. Quick quasi-meals such as this are making a rapid exodus from their usual hideouts on canned soup labels and the backs of Triscuit boxes to nationally syndicated magazines, television shows and cookbooks. They're now called "semi-homemade" or "doctored" foods. The concept is simple—mix a bunch of prepackaged products together, add a fresh ingredient or two (maybe) and pass it off as a home-cooked meal.

Gastrological Forecast

Are you simply too stressed out to cook? Do you merely glance at a frying pan and suffer from performance anxiety? Do the voices in your head tell you that whatever you attempt will turn out like crap? Relax and take three or four of those deep yoga breaths. Cooking is just like any other creative pursuit—you start with a basic plan, see where that takes you, improvise, add a little here and there, revise, make some final adjustments and you're done. Oh, but you're not creative at all, you say. Then let's switch metaphors to something else. Ice skating? At the beginning of the two-hour session everyone sucks at ice-skating. But you make mistakes and gradually improve and two hours later you're imagining yourself at the Olympics. OK, maybe that makes no sense at all. The point is this: Not every pork chop has to be a masterpiece. It can just be a pork chop, salted and peppered and thrown in a pan. Wait, you used kosher salt, right? Kidding, kidding. If you burn the thing to a crisp you tell your girlfriend it was an experiment and you go out for tacos. Maybe next time you'll only burn one side. Eventually you'll be the pork chop master. In the meantime just take it easy and don't be afraid to fail.

All the News That's Fit to Eat

The Chinese New Year starts next week, either on Jan. 21 or 22, depending on how you calculate (time zones, moon rises—it's too technical for me). In Albuquerque the Chinese Culture Center (427 Adams SE, near Washington and Zuni) will be celebrating with martial arts demonstrations, lion and dragon dances and fireworks on Jan. 24 from 1-3 p.m. There won't be food at the Culture Center, though, so you'll have to go out to eat before or after. Lucky for you a number of local restaurants are offering celebratory feasts.

Trans Fats Explained

It's a hot topic but many of us still don't quite get it

Q: I'm confused about trans fats. I recently read that hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils are considered trans fats. What is hydrogenation, and what does "partially" add to the picture?

news

Newscity

~ Local ~

An ideal for living. The standard American dream home is a typical beige box with various forms and styles of columns and windows slapped on, with an array of options included that do little to make one house in a row distinct from the other. Amidst the rows of standard dream homes, you might find a few pockets of the McMansion-style—the streamlined beautifully designed homes envisioned by architectural impresarios like Charles and Ray Eames and available only to the moderately wealthy.

But three students in UNM's graduate architecture program are trying to change all of that.

Thin Line

Blogspotting. End-of-the-year wrap-ups can be tiresome, but this one's so good we wish we had thought of it ourselves. Local blog Metaquerque takes a hilarious look at 2003 in the form of photos published by the Albuquerque Journal. From Mayor Marty kissing a cop to Shirley MacLaine looking a little freakish, the blog serves up 35 of the writer's favorite photos. “By ’favorite' I mean that these are photos that easily lend themselves to cheap jokes and snarky commentary,” the blog's author, Dagwood Reeves, posts at metaquerque.blogspot.com. We're partial to the photo of the mayor goofily grinning while holding a giant bucket of money.

Apple's Dirty Secret

How two brothers and Internet chat rooms may have saved you $255

The movie starts with the sound of a ringing phone.

“Hello, Apple Care customer support,” a voice says.

“Yeah, I've had an iPod for 18 months,” a man answers. “And the battery is dead.”

“Well, the warranty on those runs out after a year,” the Apple employee says. “We can replace the battery for $255, but you'd be better off just buying a new [iPod] for that amount of money.”

Get one of the super-popular, ultra-trendy little white music players this holiday?

Working Poor Can Benefit from Tax Credits

Don't get suckered when you can use free tax assistance program

Strange that one of the simplest, most effective and painless ways of reducing poverty in this country would have been both developed under one Republican Administration (Nixon's) and faced serious threat of extermination under another (George W.'s).

Can't-lose Weight Loss Tips

If you're like most of the millions of Americans that resolve to lose weight in the 365 days that follow the dropping of the ball every year, you've likely already given up. But just because New Year's Day has come and gone once again, it's not too late to start exercising, shedding excess pounds and feeling better. The key is believing that you can do it, and then talking to your health care professional about designing an exercise and weight-loss program tailored for your personal needs.

Begging the Question

The year's first meeting began with Councilor Miguel Gomez's proclamation in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Two marches were announced. On Thursday, Jan. 15, New Mexico Vecinos United is sponsoring a rally and march beginning at City Hall at 2 p.m. On Sunday, Jan.18, a march sponsored by NAACP-Albuquerque and other local and state groups assembles at 2:30 p.m. at the intersection of University Boulevard and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue.

film

Reel World

Poetic Picture—On Thursday, January 15, The National Hispanic Cultural Center will continue with its ongoing Spanish Film Series. The film this week is the 1988 film Lorca: Muerte de un Poeta. Originally shot as a Spanish mini-series, the film concentrates less on Lorca's renowned poetry and more on his role during the Spanish Civil War. The film is in Spanish with English subtitles. The screening is free and open to the public and starts at 6:30 p.m. The NHCC is located at 1701 Fourth SW.

House of Sand and Fog

Home is where the heartache is

When you think about it, the holiday season—despite its surface of candy and colored lights—is a time of deep pain. Urban legend tells us that more suicides happen over Christmas than at any other time of the year. Loneliness is certainly more acute. Winter weather only serves to further isolate us from our fellow man. And, at the very least, we must deal with the horror of visiting relatives and turkey-related weight gain. So, although we may not need to add to this list of year-end woes, the exquisitely doleful drama House of Sand and Fog actually fits in quite well this time of year.

The Cooler

Luck is a lady in this quirky new comedy/drama

Ever heard the old saying, “If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all?” Well, that well-worn credo describes Bernie Lootz to a T. Bernie's got such an excess of bad luck, in fact, that he's able to pawn it off on other people. Employed by a run-down Las Vegas casino as the resident “cooler,” Bernie's job is to hang out and rub elbows with gamblers on a winning streak in the superstitious belief that his contagious misfortune will rub off on the winners. And who better to play this sad sack specimen of humanity than indie stalwart William H. Macy.

music

Music to Your Ears

Local metal purveyors Systemic have landed a spot on an upcoming DVD that spotlights underground industrial and metal bands around the world. Heavycore.org, a website that bills itself as “the international brotherhood of heavy bands,” offers members a wide range of products and services that cater to heavy music, including a gig exchange, touring support and other helpful networking. In addition, the web-based organization promotes member-bands by releasing and/or distributing CDs and DVDs. Systemic will appear on Roasting Posers Vol. 1, along with bands like Pro-Pain, Alchymist, Skitzo, Ominous, Three-Headed Moses and others. It'll be available early this year, and pre-orders will soon be taken at www.heavycore.org. ... Texas-native Eric Johnson, one of very few so-called “guitar gods” who's not completely devoid of soul and any notion of melodicism, will give a solo acoustic concert next Thursday, Jan. 22, at the Sunshine Theater. This tour marks the first time in a long time that Johnson hasn't appeared with wankers like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, who have always managed to overshadow the guitarist with overblown technical antics. In my opinion, anyway. So I suggest you get tickets early, 'cause Johnson really is brilliant. ... You may have noticed that El Rey Theater's marquee has been restored to its original luster. A federal grant was recently secured by the city to rededicate the Pucinni Building, which houses both El Rey and Golden West, as a national historic landmark. The theater, which is once again under the operation of the original family, will host a formal rededication by Mayor Martin Chavez on Jan. 30, along with a host of “Grand Reopening” concerts throughout January and February. Stay tuned.

Blue Note

Last year marked the centennial of the birth of Vladimir Horowitz, often considered the last great exponent of the Russian tradition of romantic pianism. Born in Kiev, Horowitz was all of nine when, as a recently enrolled student in the Kiev Conservatory, he snuck into a sold-out recital by the great pianist Josef Hoffmann and hid in a dark corner spellbound. Almost 74 years later, after an absence of 61 years, he returned to Russia to play for an equally spellbound audience. It was a triumphant homecoming, the culmination of a career that ended three years later with his sudden death.

The Blind Boys of Alabama

Saturday, Jan. 17; The Lensic Performing Arts Center (Santa Fe, all ages, 7:30 p.m.): Regardless of your take on its lyrical content, gospel music is one of the most affecting musical genres in existence. Deeply religious and secular audiences alike can find themselves spellbound by the sheer power of a gritty, molasses hued gospel voice, and none are more powerful than those possessed by The Blind Boys of Alabama. Founded in 1939 by Clarence Fountain at Alabama's Talladega Institute for the Blind, membership has fluctuated during the past six-odd decades, but the spine-tingling quality of three- and four-part harmony has remained constant.

Chris Rock

Sunday, Jan. 18; Route 66 Casino (I-40 at Exit 140, 10 minutes west of Albuquerque, 21 and over, 7:30 p.m.): OK, so Chris Rock is a comedian and not a musical act. The fact remains, though, that Chris Rock indeed rocks and, with just a little stretch of the imagination, he could easily be called the “rock star of stand-up comics.” Since his silly haired debut on “Saturday Night Live” and eon ago, Rock has released two live CDs (both of which carry vague musical elements) that are, for lack of a better word, hi-fucking-larious. In fact, Rock is so damn funny and talented that I'd rather spend an evening listening to him than at most concerts I can think of.

Sonic Reducer

Originally released in 1997, Garageland's debut was criminally overlooked by most indie rock aficionados in the United States. In their county of origin—New Zealand—however, the band were rightfully hailed as the southern hemisphere's answer to Pavement. But it's the band's pronounced similarity to the Pixies and Sonic Youth that's most likely to tickle your eardrums. The band's third album, Scorpio Righting was quietly released almost two years ago, but this reissue of Last Exit ..., with eight bonus tracks, moderately outshines the band's more recent output. It's an indie rock masterpiece of Surfer Rosa proportions.

Alibi V.13 No.2 • Jan 8-14, 2004

feature

Citizen Lloyd

An Interview with Troma Films president Lloyd Kaufman

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Troma Entertainment, a fact that will be celebrated this very month at the fifth annual Tromadance Film Festival in Park City, Utah (the same weekend as another, rather more respectable film festival that shall go unnamed). Founded by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz in 1974, Troma is one of the oldest independent film studios in America. Home to such fine cinematic entertainment as The Toxic Avenger, Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, Class of Nuke 'em High and Surf Nazis Must Die, Troma is also one of the most infamous.

Lloyd Kaufman's Tromatic Weekend

Friday, Jan. 9

5 p.m. Lloyd Kaufman personal appearance at Burning Paradise (800 Central SW)

9 p.m. Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV screening at Guild Cinema (4125 Central NE).

11 p.m. Booksigning at Guild Cinema courtesy of Bookworks.

news

Newscity

~ Local ~

Mayor announces 2004 agenda. Last week, Mayor Martin Chavez announced his list of 2004 New Year's resolutions.

The 26 items ranged from the politically pragmatic (increase the police force to 955 sworn officers), to the culturally enriching (the new Japanese Gardens at the BioPark will enable kids to “understand marvelous, contemplative nature,” the mayor explained), to basic capital outlay (finish the balloon museum, open more community centers, build new fire sub stations), to the humane (reduce rates of euthanasia at city animal shelters) and finally to the it's about time! (Tingley Beach will get a makeover, starting in March).

Thin Line

Shhh ... don't talk about water. It seemed more like Mad magazine or National Lampoon, but at a closer look, it was indeed the Albuquerque Journal, running a frontpage headline on Tuesday, Dec. 30, that read “Rio Rancho Gaining Momentum.”

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Serbia—Children in the central Serbian town of Kragujevac watched in horror as a helicopter carrying a man dressed as Santa Claus crashed into the street in front of them. A crowd of children had gathered to greet Santa Claus on New Year's Day when the helicopter shuttling him and his bag of presents crashed a few hundred yards from them. The pilot, co-pilot and Santa were all injured, Beta news agency reported. Hospital officials reported that, despite the injuries, no lives were in danger. The cause of the crash has not been determined. Serbs celebrate Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 7, but children receive presents at New Year—a holdover from the years of communist rule when Christmas was not an officially celebrated holiday.

Women Prisons Need Attention

Why a 2,000 percent increase in inmates over the past two decades?

At breakfast with friends on the Monday morning after Christmas, I heard a piece of information that scared me silly. Well, two pieces of information if you count Mad Cow Disease, a subject that demands its own full-column treatment in the near future, once I finish reading the books Fast Food Nation and American Mad Cow.

What's for Dinner?

Mad Cow Disease a real downer for the beef industry

Watching the reaction of various public officials to the first documented case of Mad Cow Disease in the United States brings to mind the performance of Mayor Vaughn, the political head of Amity in Steven Speilberg's classic Jaws. Despite all the obvious signs that there might just be trouble lurking off the waters of the coastal community, Mayor Vaughn insists that the locals continue to swim in the ocean because doing otherwise would be bad for the summer tourist season. Instead of acknowledging the problem early on, clearing the beaches and letting Brody, Quint and Hooper get to work, the shark continues to feast and hysteria eventually overtakes the town. Needless to say, the Amity Chamber of Commerce had something of a public relations challenge in the aftermath.

music

Music to Your Ears

One of Albuquerque's longest-surviving blues bands, The Albuquerque Blues Connection, will kick off 2004 with a concert on Saturday, Jan. 10, at Pucinni's Golden West at 9 p.m. Currently promoting their CD debut, West of Texas, ABC are also hard at work in the studio recording tracks for their upcoming release, Burning It Up. ... Speaking of CDs by local bands, Fast Heart Mart have finished work on The Movie Theater, which is one of the best local releases I've heard in awhile. It'll be reviewed on these pages in the coming weeks, just as soon as I get some artwork to scan. ... Calls from bands wanting to be involved in this year's Alibi Spring Crawl are already beginning to pour in, so I offer my standard response to such queries in print with the hope that aspiring Crawl bands will heed the advice: Our Crawls are not “new band showcases.” The events are not designed to debut bands to the public. Participating bands are chosen in large part by the venues in which they are eventually booked for the Crawls, which means that club owners generally choose bands they've heard of and or have a good history with in terms of those bands that can create a reliable draw. So the best thing you can do as a new and/or fairly unknown band (especially with regard to the Downtown scene) is market yourself, book some gigs Downtown, post fliers for your shows and create your own buzz. It's not too late to get yourself a Spring Crawl slot, but you've got to be willing to do the work. Good luck!

Blue Note

The Top Classical Vocals of 2003

I would be guilty of gross falsification were I to pretend that I am able to audition more than a fraction of the classical releases that arrive weekly chez Serinus. I therefore abandon all pretence to inclusiveness, and instead focus on the vocal issues that have led me closest to the gates of heaven these past 12 months.

Steve Earle

with Greg Brown

Sunday, Jan. 11; Lensic Performing Arts Center (Santa Fe, all ages, 7 p.m.): While many folks are content—eager, even—to accept Hank III as neo-country music's bona fide badboy, the title actually belongs to Steve Earle, Americana's equivalent to rock's Bruce Springsteen. His antiestablishment attitude has remained untouched by his various addictions and run-ins with the law, and his songwriting—largely as a result of his various addictions and run-ins with the law—has only gotten better, more precise.

Henry Rollins

with his giant, gaping pie hole

Wednesday, Jan. 14; Hiland Theater (all ages, 7 p.m.): I get it now. My former punk rock idol, Henry Rollins, has become a comedian in much the same way that Jello Biafra has become an almost grateful victim of “The System.” Both Rollins and Biafra are smart guys, magical public speakers and charming beyond any shadow of a doubt. They are not, however, orators of the James Campbell stripe. But because they both once fronted punk bands—Black Flag and Dead Kennedys, respectively—they still command a certain audience.

Sonic Reducer

Twenty years after its original release, Demon's third album sounds dated, lackluster and tired, despite having been remixed and remastered for its reissue. Even by 1983 standards, this one's second-rate—a vaguely hewn Orwellian concept album that lacks any real spark. Not poetic or progressive enough to compare to prog rock bands like Marillion, nor bold, heavy or technically stunning enough to stand up next to the Queensryches of the metal world, The Plague would be laughable if not for the fact that Demon got better as the years went on. Skip this and check out The Best of Demon.

film

Reel World

Rocky Mountain High—The Taos Mountain Film Festival is celebrating its recent induction into the International Alliance of Mountain Film by heading out on the road this winter with a selection of award-wining films from the 2003 festival. “The Best of the Taos Mountain Film Festival” will open at Keller Hall on the UNM campus on Sunday, Jan. 11, at 7:30 p.m. This special screening will feature Farther Than the Eye Can See, an inspirational film produced by Outside TV about blind climber Eric Wienmayer's ascent of the world's highest peak. Tickets are $12 and can be obtained at www.tickets.com (1-800-905-3315). On Monday, Jan. 12, the “Best Of” tour hikes up to Santa Fe's historic Lensic Theatre. Beginning at 7:30 p.m., ex-Gov. Gary Johnson and mountain guide Dave Hahn will appear in person to show a video presentation of their successful 2003 climb up Mt. Everest. Tickets are $12 and are available at the Lensic box office (505-988-1234).

Big Fish

Tim Burton lies like a rug in fantastical family drama

Tim Burton has established himself as one of the master fantasists of modern filmmaking. His dramatis personæ is that of a dysfunctional boy wonder, a gloomy, wild-haired Walt Disney for the discontented. His fractured fairy tales—from Pee Wee's Big Adventure to Beetlejuice to Edward Scissorhands to The Nightmare Before Christmas to Ed Wood—tell of misunderstood social misfits happy (more or less) to live in worlds of their own creation. Burton's latest, Big Fish, is both more of the same and a bold new direction for the merry misanthrope.

art

Culture Shock

Back in 1972, the New York Times published a glowing review of a novel by first-time writer Dow Mossman called The Stones of Summer. The review insisted that Mossman's book was a breathtakingly original literary experiment. Motivated by the review, Mark Moskowitz, then only 18, hunted down a copy of the book but couldn't get past the first 20 pages. Something about the book just didn't click with him. Apparently, he wasn't alone. The Stones of Summer has been out of print for 30 years.

Round, Round and Upside Down

2004 Revolutions International Theatre Festival

Any of you whiners still complaining that we're culturally isolated out here in New Mexico should shut your pie holes. There's plenty going on in these parts. To take yet another example, consider the 2004 Revolutions International Theatre Festival.

Charmaine G. Brown and Rachel Stevens

516 Magnífico Artspace

Two large-scale installations by a pair of New Mexican artists go on display at 516 Magnífico Artspace starting this week. In The Royal Flush, Charmaine G. Brown reimagines and enlarges an ordinary deck of playing cards to lend poignant insights into the experiences of people with disabilities. In The Three Athenas, Rachel Stevens takes advantage of the Artspace's high entry hall to present a series of tall feminine sculptures created from transparent fabric and stainless steel. These two extraordinary exhibits will open with a joint reception on Friday, Jan. 9, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. There will be an artist talk on Saturday, Jan. 17, at 2 p.m. The show runs through Feb. 21. 242-8244.

food

Richard Agee on His New Menu at Atomic Cantina

Yeah, it's a bar ... but with food that's not “bar food”

When Richard Agee isn't dropping off copies of this paper at a location near you he is the man behind the menu at Atomic Cantina (315 Gold SW, 242-2200). I got him to take a few minutes out of his morning to talk with us about cooking, girls and white truffles.

Gastrological Forecast

Why do we anticipate the holidays with such excitement when so many of us barely endure them without complete breakdowns? Sure, holidays are great for kids, what with hordes of relatives around to spoil them with sweets, lax enforcement of the rules and heaps of presents. And frankly, holidays are largely cake for menfolk too. Sure is tough keeping that La-Z-Boy warm, huh Grandpa? Meanwhile we ladies are making up spare beds (with extra pillows!), filling the fridge with bizarre requests (diet decaf Coke with lemon?) and working desperately to avoid the path of oncoming emotional shitstorms (“If you'd given me what I really wanted for Christmas you would have cleaned your house.”) On top of all that we do the menu planning, shopping and cooking, too. All of which we could handle if only someone else in the goddamn house would do some dishes! Mother's voice rings loud and clear through the heads of women everywhere as they silently freak out at the sight of dirty coffee cups in the sink—right next to the empty dishwasher. “Oh no, did I forget to show them where I keep the magic key that unlocks this mystery machine?” (Shitstorm warning in effect for your area!) And then, at last, peace. They're gone and we have six months to forget how miserable it was and remember what a great time we had “bonding” together. Yay!

All the News That's Fit to Eat

Restaurants come and restaurants go, sometimes so fast you can barely keep up! Before I even noticed that Café Broadway had closed, Maximito's opened in its place at 606 Broadway SE. Maximito's Chef Eddie Stern was formerly the owner of Tio Tito's, a Mexican restaurant near University and Menaul that he closed about four years ago. Around the same time as the closing of Tio Tito's, Stern's father Maximo passed away. The new restaurant is named for him. As for the food, Stern describes Maximito's menu as, “exactly the same as Tio Tito's but I've gotten better over the past few years.” Among the Mexican dishes like nachos, tostadas, burritos, enchiladas, fajitas and chimichangas lie a number of vegetarian entrées and vegan possibilities. The beans and rice are both vegan, Stern says, and many dishes can be made with vegetables but without cheese. Stern and his girlfriend, owner Julie Dahl, also remodeled the space, building bancos around the dining room, adding splashes of bright color with fresh paint everywhere. Call 242-1222 for hours and information.

Alibi V.13 No.1 • Jan 1-7, 2004

feature

The Year of the Liar

From weapons of mass destruction to Jayson Blair, we trusted them and they punk'd us. Why do we keep coming back for more?

The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth. —H.L. Mencken

film

Reel World

While we're busy discussing the best of 2003, it's hard to ignore that other favorite topic: the worst of 2003. Just as the best rises to the top like cream, the worst sinks to the bottom like ... well, a few other substances I can think of. Here, then, are the sinkers and stinkers of 2003.

Top 10 Films of 2003

Japanese hotels, French grannies, Brazilian gangsters and humble hobbits make up this year's best

Lost in Translation

music

Weekly Alibi's Guide to the Best CDs of 2003

Rather than promote yet another annoying ballot on which most people in past years have penciled in their votes for Xtina, Britney, Limp Shitstick, and so on and so on, I decided to foist upon you my own picks for the best music of 2003. Undoubtedly, many of you will disagree with my picks and/or be disappointed that your personal faves didn't make this cut. But frankly, after a decade of sifting through literally thousands of CDs looking for a few gems worthy (mostly) of review in this fine publication, I believe I've earned the right to force my opinion on what records to buy down your gullet. That's what I like to think anyway. Without further ado, I proudly present what I honestly believe to be the best music released during the past year.

food

Gastrological Forecast

It's a new year! And you still have the same old fat ass! Only it's just a little bit fatter now, isn't it? Just where-oh-where did those mystery ass-pounds come from? Let's see, 17 red and green foil-wrapped mini Reese's peanut butter cups at 80 trillion grams of fat each, plus a half tin of sugar-sprinkled Danish butter cookies at 11 quatrillion grams of fat per tin, plus six glasses of egg nog at 99 million grams of fat each. And let's mutiply that by 31 days in December ... well, what do you know? It adds up. Wanna know the easiest way to drop a few pounds quick? This mystery diet has been around for centuries. It's called: eating vegetables. (Hint: potatoes are not vegetables.) Vegetables are the green things your mom made for dinner when you were a kid. They are variously known by such names as green beans, broccoli, squash, spinach and eggplant. You hated them back then but you had to eat them or Mom would get mad. Now Mom isn't hovering over your plate anymore but your punishment for not eating vegetables is ... you guessed it ... your fat ass! Make an effort to eat some green stuff at every meal and you'll watch those ass-pounds melt away like butter. If that doesn't work we'll refund every penny you paid for this paper.

Peppermint Patties

Wean yourself off of Christmas candies with these slightly-less-fattening treats

On Thanksgiving Day my friend Jamie brought over homemade peppermint patties shaped like turkeys and with feathers painted on in real gold paint. They tasted way, way better than store-bought patties and the turkey shapes made everyone ooh and aah. Jamie got the recipe from the Dec. 1998 issue of Gourmet magazine but over the year's she has changed it a little, adding more peppermint and the gold paint. Use your Christmas cookie cutters to make the patties in any shape you like and feel free to dip in dark chocolate or use some of the colored “confectionary coating” they sell at the Specialty Shop (5823 Lomas NE, 266-1212).

All the News That's Fit to Eat

The top 10 (ok nine) food news stories of the year

The Parkay Tub Says, “Buh-Bye!” One of our favorite events of the year was all of the attention paid to trans fatty acids, the kind of fat found in partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening (like margarine and Crisco). Last summer the Food and Drug Administration announced that they would require food manufacturers to list the amount of trans fatty acids in addition to the breakdown of saturated and unsaturated fats. They also said that trans-fat consumption should be kept to an absolute minimum. While the FDA stopped short of recommending eaters switch to butter or lard (which contain higher amounts of saturated fat but far less trans-fats) we like to interpret their findings as a perfectly good case for the all-butter pie crust and lard-only tamales. Hey, it's all about heart health.

news

Newscity

~ State ~

New Mexico troops battle financial problems. Imagine you live paycheck-to paycheck. Since the majority of Americans do, that should be an easy lifestyle to consider. But then imagine you live paycheck-to-paycheck and have to support a family and all its related expenses: mortgage, car payment, insurance, children, you name it. Now imagine that your income was just cut by one-fifth, or even more, and at the same time you had to say goodbye to your family in hopes of seeing them again in about 18 months.

Thin Line

Don't worry, KRQE—even the Times is dead wrong, sometimes. A few weeks ago, “Thin Line” chalked up News 13's premature report of Joe Skeen's death to the station's need to be the first to report the story, and we still think the gaffe made the station look pretty stupid. But they might feel better to know that lots of news outlets have a hard time discerning if their subjects are dead or not. Last week, we received a copy of an internal memo sent to employees at the New York Times, chiding writers to verify cause of death in an obituary to avoid running an obit on someone who isn't dead.

Public Art Controversies Stir Passions

A rocket, a 54 chevy and inverted cones make public debate easier

I am always amazed at how high emotions can soar in this town over public art controversies. These are after all, essentially matters of individual taste and carry at most symbolic importance.

Re-making History

City Hall brings us up to date with Don Juan de Oñate sculpture

Christmas is the season for giving. At the first Yuletide, gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh were presented to a child in a manger. Two thousand years later, the tradition has evolved—there weren't too many folks receiving frankincense or myrrh last week—but gold is still a favorite followed closely, apparently, by bronze statues.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Finland—Hard economic times have reached as far as the North Pole, where even Santa has been forced to lay off his elves. SantaPark, a tourist attraction near the Arctic Circle 520 miles North of Helsinki, has accumulated $550,000 worth of debt in its five years of operation and has been forced to lay off many of the elves staffing its carousel, souvenir stands and restaurant. While business is booming in the surrounding wilderness known as Lapland—home of the nomadic, reindeer-herding Lapps—SantaPark has seen visits decline. Tourism officials in Finland expect a new December record of more than 100,000 foreign visitors. Such numbers have not helped SantaPark, however, which has been accused of overstaffing and mismanagement.

art

Chilling

January Book Events

Colorado author Robert Greer pleased a lot of readers with his C.J. Floyd mystery series. In his newest novel, Heat Shock, he brings his experience as a practicing surgical pathologist and research scientist to a gripping new thriller about a bizarre biotechnology abuse involving two prize fighting cocks. An emergency room doctor and a white-water rafter join forces to track down the stolen cocks and uncover a secret biotech scheme that could be worth billions of dollars.

Speed Reader

An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves and the Creation of America

Beggers Can Be Choosers

The Top 10 Arts and Books of 2003

Drum roll, please.

After much strained thought and ruthless self-flagellation (smacking myself with a stick helps me think), I've narrowed my favorite arts and literature experiences of 2003 down to this brief list. It hasn't been easy, friends. A lot has happened in 2003. I've seen lots of great plays and exhibits. I've read lots of great books. In the end, though, these are the 10 artsy-litsy thing-a-ma-jing-a-ma-bobs that I felt were truly unforgettable. I present them to you now in no particular order.

1) The Guaymas Chronicles: La Mandadera David E. Stuart