Westside land deal smacks of insider politics and failed policies of the past
By Jeremy Vesbach
When public officials announced that the Tempur-Pedic Swedish Mattress factory will start construction along Paseo del Volcan in the far outskirts of town this spring, the big news was that the company will bring 300 new manufacturing jobs to Albuquerque in the next few years.
Will a unionized workforce hurt or help La Montañita Co-op?
By Sara Hiatt
Even before she worked at La Montañita Co-op in Nob Hill, Kerry Brumbaugh shopped there. She lived closer to Smith's grocery store on Lead, but said she never shopped there because, “I felt like it was my social responsibility to shop at the Co-op.”
Truth-squading. Immediately following President Bush's State of the Union speech last week, Robert G. Kaiser, the Washington Post's associate editor, went online to offer instant analysis and take questions from readers. One of the questions came from a Cleveland, Ohio resident, asking: “Maybe I am hopelessly naive, but why aren't obvious lies in Bush's State of The Union called out immediately?”
The new city council's honeymoon with the Chavez administration has been a refreshing period of municipal calm and domestic tranquility, a mood starkly in contrast to our recent history in which mayor/council relations have more resembled a barroom brawl at One Civic Plaza than a walk on the beach.
After enduring the gooey dishonesty of Bush's State of the Union speech, it was heartening to spend the next evening, Wednesday, Jan. 21, seeing Albuquerqeans debate in good faith the emotionally fraught and technically complex WIPP shipment bill. Council President Michael Cadigan was absent and Vice President Eric Griego chaired the meeting.
Dateline: Russia—A family in frozen southern Siberia has been forced to seek help after giving shelter to a stranded baby flamingo, the ITAR-TASS news agency has reported. Exhausted by its journey, the rare bird had taken shelter in the Muravyov family's home in the village of Verkhny Markovo near Irkutsk. The young flamingo was living out the winter in the family's old wooden house warmed by the heat of a single wood stove. Recently, however, temperatures in Siberia plummeted to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The Muravyovs felt that their houseguest might be in danger of freezing to death and appealed for help. Local zoos weren't sure what to do with the tropical bird. Assistance eventually came from the cultural center of the regional railway workers' association at Severobaikalsk, on the shores of Lake Baikal several hundred miles away. Personnel at the center invited the flamingo to take up residence in their winter garden, where it now enjoys nearly 1,000 square feet of floor space that includes a wide variety of tropical plants and a small fountain.
Life is so unfair. Sure, you can eat all the bacon, butter and cheese you want and still lose weight. But just try to cheat with a couple of Cheetohs and poof! You look like Fat Monica in one of those “Friends” flashback episodes, complete with triple chin and an extra roll of fat that sticks out from beneath your bra. This stupid Atkins diet mania is pure hell. You try to behave when you're out to lunch but how can you enjoy your grilled chicken over shredded greens when the guy next to you is dunking every bite of his 24-ounce ribeye in a small vat of queso. And now Ben and Jerry's comes out with low-carb vanilla Swiss almond ice cream. Yeah, it's got 15 grams of fat per serving but if you play the Atkins game then it's virtually guilt free! Only two grams of carbs. Talk about cruel and unusual. Wouldn't it really be ideal if you could Atkins by the meal? Say at lunch you can have a mountain of rice vermicelli with a little grilled pork and heaps of vegetables and you've stayed on your lunchtime low-fat diet. But at dinner you get to have a bacon-wrapped steak and a big bowl of ice cream—as long as you don't have any of those wicked mashed potatoes. Now that diet sounds doable.
Did you know that McDonald's Crispy Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad has more fat than a Big Mac and an order of fries? With the dressing, it contains 50 grams of fat, about 70 percent of your daily allowance if you're not on a diet. Seriously. Don't kid yourself that you're eating healthy just because you're eating a salad. Lettuce on its own has very little nutritional value—or taste for that matter. So by the time you pile on cheese, croutons and ranch dressing, your salad has lost any advantage it might have had over a burger and fries. The way to win with salad is to pile on vegetables, not cheese, meat or fatty dressing. Sprinkle salt and pepper all over it, toss and then sprinkle with oil and vinegar or low-fat dressing (if you must). Use about a third of the amount you think you'll need. By the way, another common pitfall is juice. Before you pat yourself on the back for drinking lots of juice blends, look at the nutrition facts box on the back of the container and multiply the calories by the number of servings. A 300 calorie juice is not a diet food. It's empty sugar calories. Give it up.
Seventeen (or so) things you didn't know about your favorite treat
By Laura Marrich
"Overrun" is an industry term for the amount of air that's whipped into commercial ice cream. That dense, creamy mouth-feel we all covet in premium brands is the result of about 10-25 percent air in the product. Less expensive ice creams will, as a rule, have more air in them (sometimes as much as 75 percent). Overrun amounts aren't listed on containers, so to make sure you're not getting shafted, we recommend you try this little experiment. Take a pint of fancy ice cream and a pint of value brand ice cream to the produce department and weigh them individually on the hanging scales. Subtract about one and a half ounces from each one to account for the weight of the container. Compare the weight difference (a pint with 25 percent overrun should weigh about 18 ounces) and be amazed! Turns out that pints of Godiva ice cream are more cost effective than buying those sticky plastic tubs of generic goo. In your face, prudence! Who's "frivolous" and "living beyond her means" now?
Basement Walls—Basement Films is returning to The Walls Gallery (510 Central Ave. SE) for “Pixels and Grain,” a night of new experimental film and video works from local and not-so-local filmmakers. The evening will include works from Albuquerque artists/filmmakers Sherlock Terry, Jesse Derleers, Blake Gibson and Charla Barker, Portland-area filmmakers Matt McCormick and Naomi Uman, Canadian filmmaker Garinene Torossian and New York video artist Wago Kreider. Total run time is about 80 minutes for this eclectic collection of shorts. For more information (including handy, dandy film descriptions), log on to www.basementfilms.org.
With all the hoopla surrounding the release of Pixar's Finding Nemo and with all of Disney's dour predictions about the end of “traditional” animation (a claim only borne out by crap like DreamWorks' Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas), it's easy to miss a humbly beautiful little garnet like The Triplets of Belleville. This old-fashioned, hand-animated cartoon won't land any McDonald's endorsements, it won't get a splashy 2,000-screen release and, come February, it will lose the Best Animated Film Oscar to the aforementioned Finding Nemo. But true animation lovers will know, in their heart of hearts, who the real winner is.
Based on writer Tracy Chevalier's best-selling academic potboiler, Girl with a Pearl Earring is a slow, stoic but achingly beautiful glimpse into the life of Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer as seen through the eyes of an impressionable young maid in his employ.
It's official: The New Mexico Showcase is toast. Last week, I reported that a conversation with NM Showcase mastermind Michael Feferman had revealed that the showcase was on indefinite hold while he works on his master's degree in Austin, Texas. Two days after the issue hit the stands, I got an e-mail from Feferman saying the event had been officially retired. During its three-year run, the NM Showcase hosted upward of 100 local bands at venues all over the state. Kudos to Michael Feferman and everyone else who made the event possible. ... The 16th Annual Folk Alliance Conference is scheduled for Feb. 26-29 in San Diego, Calif. Registration is now open. Folk Alliance members get the whole enchilada—concerts, workshops, panel discussions, etc.—for a cool $480. Non-members will pay $560. Visit www.folk.org to register or for more information. ... The Sweat Band have changed their name to The Foxx. Bad idea. But that's just my opinion. I've never supported band name changes unless key members leave, the music or image changes significantly and/or the new name is monumentally better than the old one. Besides, why erase all the name recognition and buzz you've worked so hard to create? ... Jazz fans rejoice! The Outpost Performance Space will kick off its 2004 spring season on Saturday, Feb. 21, with two shows by incomparable singer Cassandra Wilson at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 general, $30 Outpost members and I predict a quick sellout, so get 'em now at the Bookstop (268-8898) or the Outpost (268-0044).
Tuesday, Feb. 3; Popejoy Hall (all ages, 7:30 p.m.): Even the most gifted artistic genius, it is believed, will one day find his or her well run dry. The technique and desire remain, but there comes a time when all such artists must accept that their creative spark has burned out, right? Don't be so sure. Flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia, regarded the world over as the master of that particular art, is one of the rare ones: a brilliant musician who continues to move forward in spite of conventional thinking.
De Lucia's latest release, Cositas Buenas (Verve), is proof positive. Here, de Lucia eschews several signatures associated with previous masterworks in exchange for a more deeply personal approach that is affecting in an entirely new way. Gone is the sextet with whom de Lucia has recorded and toured for the past decade. What remains for the most part is de Lucia himself, and his guitar. His astonishing technique remains intact, as do his trademark bold explorations. But other than a couple of guest vocalists and palmas (handclaps), Cositas Buenas is a revealing musical excursion by a rare genius.
Friday, Jan. 30; El Rey Theater (21 and over, 8 p.m.): When it comes to rock 'n' roll, Bo knows, well ... just about everything. In some respects, Bo Diddley is rock 'n' roll, or at least what it originally was. The 76-year-old guitar slinger from McComb, Miss., along with Chuck Berry, Little Richard and a few select others, had a big hand in developing the sound that would change the way the world listened to music. For his efforts, Diddley has maintained celebrity-hood for more than four decades and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
Wednesday, Feb 4; The Paramount (Santa Fe, 21 and over, 8:30 p.m.): To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure exactly how this tour is working. I can't seem to get confirmation on whether David Lowery and the other members of Camper Van Beethoven will perform CVB songs or David Lowery and the other members of Cracker will perform CVB songs, and then perform as Cracker. Either way, you should plan to catch this show based solely on the fact that Lowery is a songwriting genius whose got more cynicism and lyrical flair in his little finger than most of us have in our entire bodies.
Guitarist Robert Randolph kicks ass in a Jeff Healy kind of way. His main axe is the pedal steel, from which he's able to coax chordal passages that sound as if they're coming from a Telecaster and solos that, like Healy's ghostly slide work, are more articulate than those you've come to expect from guys with only six strings to deal with. Randolph doesn't create all his magic on the pedal steel, but what he's able to do on the instrument is otherworldly. This, his second record, is cohesive, energetic and jaw-droppingly superlative in terms of songwriting and performance.
Roberto Rugerio Guerrero at the Dartmouth Street Gallery
By Steven Robert Allen
When you first glance at Roberto Rugerio Guerrero's paintings, they seem almost quaint. The muted hues—grays, browns, deadened oranges and blues—combined with his angular, fragmented, feminine forms are reminiscent of work by the major early 20th century Cubists: Braque, Gris, Leger, Picasso.
Back in October, a one-night-only performance of The Chronicles of Odisia Sanchez, a play by Mónica Sánchez, sold out fast as lightning. This time Sánchez' play about a woman's journey from San Francisco deep into the heart of Mexico will run for two weekends, exploring relations between the first world and the third. Reservations are advisable. The show runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Feb. 8. $10 general, $8 students/seniors. 246-2261.
Local writers will be peddling their deliciously decadent homemade smut at Bookworks (4022 Rio Grande NW, (505) 344-8139) on Feb. 14, at 7 p.m. Well, all right, maybe it isn't exactly smut. We sophisticated types prefer the term "erotic writing." Whatever you want to call it, you can steam up your otherwise chilly Valentine's Day by heading down to the store to listen to sexy, sensual passages read by Kate Horsley, Lisa Lenard-Cook, Demetria Martinez, V.B. Price, David Stuart and Sharon O. Warner.
The state of the 31-year-old Supreme Court ruling and Albuquerque's political climate
By Sara Hiatt
This week marks the 31st year abortion has been legal in this country. The 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade ruling legalized abortion and continues to protect the procedure. And over the past three decades, the debate over reproductive rights has grown increasingly complex. Anti-choice groups see abortion as an abomination and murder of a fetus they see as having the same Constitutional rights as anyone else. Pro-choice groups follow the medical definition of a fetus—that it is not yet a person—and say abortion should be a safe and legal option for women who have the right to choose what they do with their bodies. Both sides of the argument will take notice of the anniversary this week.
Since the Roe v. Wade battle began 31 years ago, technology and medicine have changed and new modern issues have made the debate more complex. Emergency contraception, a ban on late-term abortions and parental consent are just a few of the issues contributing to the local abortion conversation.
Local officials say crystal meth use “out of control”
By Tim McGivern
A few years ago, I met a Euro-hippie who was hanging out in Nob Hill. He was travelling around the country on a Greyhound bus, choosing his destinations based on recommendations from one of those travel-on-a-shoestring books. He said he was pleasantly surprised by Albuquerque's charm—the mountains, affordable bars and cafés, amiable weather—especially because his guidebook advised him not to stop here at all, calling our town uneventful, dirty and worst of all, dangerous. But thankfully he checked it out anyway and seemed to enjoy it.
Gnathic's tiny apartment is immaculately clean. Lit warmly by white Christmas lights and a lamp by the futon which serves as the central couch, it is not exactly where you'd think to find the heart of hip hop in Albuquerque. Gathered around the main and only real room in the apartment, however, are two MCs, a DJ, a break dancer, a graffiti artist and a guitarist—all of whom claim to be, more or less, a part of the growing sub-culture known as hip hop. According to these 20-something men, hip hop is alive and well in the Duke City.
Concern about health care lately has mostly focused on the Richardson administration's proposals for slowing the growth of the Medicaid portion of the state budget. But events in the last few weeks remind us that Medicaid is only one piece in the whole crumbling mosaic that is our health care financing system.
If Britney Spears could wriggle free of her pre-dawn Las Vegas nuptials in a matter of hours, why can't Albuquerque annul the incestuous shotgun wedding its water utility was forced into last year with the Bernalillo County Commission? Sure, Britney's 5:30 a.m. trip down the aisle of the Little White Wedding Chapel might have been the result of “a joke that went too far” (now there's one I wish I'd thought of ...) but a joke that went too far is also about the best spin that can be used to describe what the state Legislature and Gov. Richardson did to Albuquerque ratepayers and our water utility last year.
Dateline: Germany—Police have arrested a shopper who tried to get a refund on two computers after allegedly replacing the working parts with potatoes. The man arrived at a department store in Kaiserslautern and complained that a machine he'd purchased several hours previous did not work. Employees opened up the computer and found it stuffed full of potatoes. According to the British newspaper The Guardian, bemused shop assistants gave the man a new machine free of charge. Store employees became suspicious, however, when the man returned a short time later complaining that his new machine was also filled with potatoes. A company spokesman told The Guardian, “The second time he said he didn't need a computer anymore and asked for his money back in cash.” Staff at the store called detectives and the man was arrested on suspicion of fraud. “It is hard to imagine how the potatoes could get into a computer's casing,” said computer technician Roman Zukoan. “When computers leave the factory, they are packed in plastic to prevent damage from condensation.”
So, I'm entering my stories in a new database these days. To be sure it's a hassle but the fun part is that I've got to train its spelling dictionary from scratch. The program recognizes myriad obscure international places and names but apparently not any of the ones I use. It knows the initials for the British Broadcasting Company, of course, but it also wants to use them for BBQ. When writing about my Jewish friend's recipe for kugel I get confused for a second when the computer asks me if I'm talking about the capital of Rwanda—Kigali. Very worldly. If you were ever turned off by an extra goaty-smelling brick of feta you'll be delighted to know that FileMaker Pro thinks it smells so much like feet that we should spell it that way. When I mention an Atkins special it wants to substitute a latkes special. Would you like a side of irony with that? A certain Italian restaurant I know almost got accused of serving veal jicama (it knows jicama but not piccata?) and calamari with mariner sauce. Mmm, salty. And when I recently wrote about hamburgers my fingers slipped and all of a sudden I found myself describing a big, fat hombre dripping with meaty juices. Whoa! How many of your abuelitas would blush if you asked what they had cooking in the horny today? More than a few. And I doubt Mary at Mary and Tito's would be pleased if I accepted the offer to substitute Tit's for her late husband's name. No, not so much.
Oooh, pizza. So tasty! There's a new homestyle, Southern Italian restaurant up on Eubank (1435 to be exact), where Lo Stivale used to be. The place is called Al Vincenzo's after the two partners, Al and Vince, who opened the restaurant in late November. The space got a bit of a facelift, with fresh earth-toned paint and subtle, cable lighting. Al, also known as Albert D'Angelo, grew up in New York and Albuquerque but recently moved back from the Big Apple and decided to continue his career in the restaurant biz with a restaurant here. He serves good thin-crusted pizza with all the usual topping options plus a few specialty combinations like the Vegan: mozzarella, pepperoni, Italian sausage, Canadian bacon and ground beef. Ooh, wait, sorry, that one's called the Abruzzi. But seriously, there are a few pasta sauces without meat and a number of veggie-heavy salads mixed in among the meaty, sausage-y pastas. D'Angelo hopes to expand the menu when his beer and wine license is approved so look for exciting changes in the coming months.
It is a little known fact that this popular homestyle recipe got its name because it's so good that it will cause your guests to tear each other to shreds with their canines like rabid baboons fighting over the carcass of a baby gazelle. OK, I totally made that up. The real reason is because this oopy-goopy, sweet and buttery bread is so tasty that in order to not rip each other to shreds your group will need to reinforce your social bonds by engaging in an all-out chimp-style orgy (Google search: bonobos) before dividing the monkey bread into equal parts. Alright, alright, I made that up too. I have no idea why they call this stuff monkey bread. All I know is that I eat so much of it and get so much gluey sugar goop all over my face that I don't need to wax my mustache for weeks. That's true.
Looking for andouille sausage, fresh hoja santa leaves, pickled ginger, coating chocolate or pomegranate molasses? It's all available here in Albuquerque at one of our many specialty purveyors. These little mom 'n' pop shops allow us to dip our toes in the cuisines of the world without spending a fortune on airfare. Clip out this handy directory and refer to it anytime you find yourself agonizing over where to find Rocky Mountain oysters.
Academy Awards in Albuquerque—Congratulations are in order for Bill Tondreau of Albuquerque-based Kuper Controls. Tondreau is scheduled to receive an Oscar this year at the Scientific and Technical Academy Awards. The scientific awards are announced and handed out earlier than the regular awards (which will take place this year on Feb. 29). Tondreau will be honored for his significant advances with robotic camera systems. The Scientific and Technical Academy Awards will be presented at a dinner on Feb. 14.
Altman keeps ensemble on its toes in intimate dance drama
By Devin D. O'Leary
As filmgoers—as film lovers—we can never truly forgive director Robert Altman for at least half of Kansas City, most all of Dr. T & The Woman and every excruciating second of Prêt-à-Porter. At the same time, we must keep in mind that this is the filmmaking maestro who gave us M*A*S*H*, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, The Player and, of course, Nashville. No one can argue that Altman isn't the king of the ensemble cast. But his wildly uneven output (this guy directed Gosford Park and Quintet, for crying out loud!) makes it hard to figure out what we're going to get next. What we are faced with currently is The Company.
Familiar New RomCom is a Case of “Ben There, Done That”
By Devin D. O'Leary
Seeing movies in January is a little like going to a hotel in the Third World: It's not necessarily going to be a horrible experience, but you've got to lower your standards a little bit. For at least the first couple months of the year, the Oscar contenders have all been released, the summer blockbusters are months away and the audiences have dropped off precipitously following the holiday crush. Bottom line: Hollywood isn't gonna waste its top shelf product before President's Day. But that doesn't mean everything hitting theaters right now is complete and total garbage. Take, for example, Along Came Polly, the new romantic comedy starring Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston. It's pretty funny and kinda romantic—but only in a January sort of way.
Congratulations to Albuquerque bands Mr. Spectacular and the 12 Step Rebels for making the cut in this year's South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, March 17-21. No word yet on the fate of the other locals who applied, but our fingers are crossed for Spiritu, Jason Daniello, Foma and Below the Sound. ... Local metal prodigies ATG (Against the Grain) have finished recording their debut CD, which should be mixed, mastered and ready for release by the end of this month. ... Speaking of new CDs by local artists, Tony Rio plans to release his third CD in late February, followed by a European tour. Details on Rio's CD release party are forthcoming. ... Longstanding world music band Wagogo will celebrate the release of their fourth, eponymously titled CD next week, on Friday, Jan. 30, at Stella Blue. Check next week's Alibi for the details. ... Finally—this week, anyway—the long awaited debut from Rage Against Martin Sheen has seen the light of day. No official word on the CD release party or retail availability has been given as of press time. Rumor has it that Albuquerque has seen the last of the New Mexico Showcase at least for the near future. Event founder and organizer Michael Feferman said during a brief visit to Albuquerque last week that pursuing a master's degree at the University of Texas in Austin proved to take too much time away from his NM Showcase duties, so the showcase will likely be put on hold until he finishes his degree.
After taking three decades to furnish the follow-up to their 1972 debut, it only took the Flatlanders—Joe Ely, Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore—two years to provide us with a third installment of near-perfect Texas country music. Wheels of Fortune was recorded immediately following the band's 2003 Now Again tour, and it's got the feel of a trio who've been on the road together for 30 years. Truth is, each member is a musical icon in his own right, but the sum of Flatlanders is more than its parts. Like the Beatles with twang raised in a roadhouse.
It's tough to go wrong with a compilation conceived by the most respected alt.country publication in America that features tracks by Doug Sahm, Alejandro Escovedo, Mark Olsen and Victoria Williams, Robbie Fulks and a host of other purveyors—past and present—of Americana in all its various forms, all bookended by Johnny Cash's "Time of the Preacher" and the Carter Family's "No Depression in Heaven." There's not a single dud among the album's 13 tracks, but I must admit that I can take Victoria Williams' voice only in the smallest of doses.
William D. Crumpton worked as a guard at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe. A couple weeks ago, in the wee hours of the morning, Crumpton called the police to report a robbery in progress. The museum, as well as the Santa Fe Police Department, now believes that the thief was Crumpton himself.
Perceptions of the Body Through the Familiar and Unfamiliar at the Harwood Art Center
By Steven Robert Allen
I see a bed, and it looks comfortable enough even though I'm pretty sure I wouldn't get much sleep on it. For one thing, the bed floats more than a foot above the ground. For another, a projector suspended up near the ceiling projects images of sleeping bodies in constantly shifting positions onto the clean, white sheets.
Go. Stand over there. Face the wall. No, I'm not punishing you. It's for your own good. Local artist David Leigh is opening a new exhibit of his sometimes funny, sometimes just plain weird drawings this week at the Walls Gallery. As in past Walls exhibits, Leigh seeks to exploit the space itself in an effort to reveal his drawings to maximum effect. Gold, Golden opens this Friday, Jan. 23, with a reception from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Runs through Feb. 1. 489-2644.
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.
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.
Don't get suckered when you can use free tax assistance program
By Jerry Ortiz y Pino
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).
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.
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.
A convenience food craze serves up hot air at high prices
By Laura Marrich
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.