Gus Pedrotty—Gus, as he likes to be known—stopped by Alibi Headquarters to discuss a bid for mayor that began as idealistic—and some would say unlikely—but has since been transformed into one of the more vital and remarkable candidacies that have passed through this high desert city in ages.
The Bush administration doesn't want dissenters to be seen or heard.
When President Bush travels around the United States, the Secret Service visits the location ahead of time and orders local police to set up “free speech zones” or “protest zones” where people opposed to Bush policies (and sometimes sign-carrying supporters) are quarantined. These zones routinely succeed in keeping protesters out of presidential sight and outside the view of media covering the event.
~ Local ~
Union? No. The fight for a union at La Montañita Food Co-op is over and workers have lost. Pro-union workers, sounding sad and defeated, have reported that the union representing them has stopped unionization efforts before it came to an employee vote because of lack of support.
The International Aerospace and Machinists' Union (IAM), which is representing the workers, requires a pre-vote poll to see if the majority of workers support a union. If enough workers had signed their names, pledging that they would vote for a union in the upcoming election, the process would have continued as planned and the election, scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 4, would have occured.
Your business has been chosen for a feature article in the New Mexico Business Journal. ... Imagine that. Your business is doing such a great job, leading the way in productivity, efficiency, employee retention, customer service and satisfaction, well-paying job creation and just about every other newsworthy category and, as a result, a monthly business magazine wants to do a story on you.
New Mexico family's ties severed
They never knew what hit ’em.
In a swift move orchestrated by former Colorado U.S. Senator Hank Brown, the billion-dollar charitable foundation created by Bill Daniels, a Denver-based cable television magnate with strong family and business ties to New Mexico, has been neatly highjacked and converted into yet another tax shelter and money funnel for right-wing, political causes.
Dateline: Swaziland—In this week's good news/bad news category comes word that the king of Swaziland has officially postponed the start of the school year in his country. Unfortunately, the week-long delay is so that young boys can participate in one of Swaziland's most sacred rituals—weeding the royal fields. Opposition leaders and many parents have criticized the move by King Mswati, which affects some 30,000 students who attend the kingdom's state schools. The weeding is the last part of the traditional Incwala rituals, in which Swazis selebrate the start of the harvest season and sanctify the monarchy. “I have no problem with culture, but it should be dynamic and must not supersede daily routines that make the country tick,” said opposition leader Mario Musuku, who has three children in school. “This is a clear sign of absolute dictatorship.”
Westside needs a vision that the rest of the city can buy into
The Westside secession movement represents many things: disappointment with the failure of the $52 million road bond package to pass last October, frustration with City Hall's inability to effectively address very real Westside traffic problems, exasperation with the lack of the same sort of north-south/east-west road grid west of the Rio Grande that exists east of the river and the belief—whether it's real or imagined—that Albuquerque has the same amount of love for the Westside as Natalie Maines does for Toby Keith.
The readers write.
Goddess of Arno, Burque's premier Balkan dance band, will host their first Balkan dance party of 2004 on Saturday, Feb. 7, at R.B. Winning Coffee Company at 8 p.m. (Beginner dance lessons will be given at 7:30 p.m.) Cost is a meager five bucks, and kids under 12 are admitted free. Also that night, reggae fans can get their groove on at the Sunshine Theater in the company of Michael Franti and Spearhead. ... The following evening, local bands Dead City, Cole Mitchell and the Currs and Rakes of Mallow will rock the Atomic. ... In non-musical, but nonetheless important, news: The Monte del Sol Charter School will present Moises Kaufman's “The Laramie Project” on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 6 and 7 at Warehouse 21 in Santa Fe. All ages are welcome for $5. Both shows begin at 7 p.m. Call (505) 989-4423 for more information. ... Jason and the Argonauts, led by the incomparable Jason Daniello, are headed out for a long-ish tour of Arizona and northeast Texas beginning on Feb. 6 in support of their recent live album. And, with any luck, they'll get back to discover they've been invited to SXSW, and will be headed to Austin along with the 12 Step Rebels and Mr. Spectacular for the festival that begins March 17.
He's written 15 books, some 300 art songs, and dozens of orchestral, chamber and choral works. Yet despite winning the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for his orchestral piece Air Music, earning renown as America's undisputable living master of the vocal idiom, and enjoying the luxury of spending the past 40 years of his life only writing music on commission, composer Ned Rorem has until now seen his early symphonies largely ignored.
with special guests
Wednesday, Feb. 11; Launchpad (21 and over, 9 p.m.): The Deathray Davies' latest record, Midnight at the Black Nail Polish (Glurp) makes it difficult to believe that Dallas doesn't have a “London District” the way big cities have Chinatowns, Little Italies and the like. But that six Texans can sound so convincingly Brit-pop is only part of the story. The other, more important part is that the Deathray Davies make Brit-pop with teeth—cleverness, melodic sensibility, warbling organ and all. These guys write songs that are guaranteed to tug at the heartstrings of any self-respecting XTC fan, likewise fans of Flaming Lips. But the band also employ undercurrents of early Sonic Youth, Hüsker Dü and just about every '60s garage and snotty '80s new wave band you can think of.
With hooks worthy of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, cleverly biting lyrics and surprisingly little pretentiousness, the Deathray Davies may just be the most perfect pop band in the world.
A local musician profile
Local musician and teacher Kevin Kinane is a Renaissance Man is the truest sense. He's played drums with some of the biggest bands in town, performed as a multi-instrumentalist with countless other local bands and as a solo artist. His musical endeavors, from his stint with the relatively straightforward rock ensemble, The Withdrawals, to his alter-egos Daddy Long Loin and Recycle-Man, have always been cutting-edge in Kinane's own way. But he's also found a way to channel his creativity and genuine love for all things musical into programs that benefit local children.
Consisting of guitarists Hank Shermann and Michael Denner of Mercyful Fate, two members of King Diamond's “solo” band and singer Martin Steene, Force of Evil is essentially Mercyful Fate (or King Diamond) without King Diamond. To his credit, Steene doesn't often attempt to mimick Diamond's caterwaul, but he does manage to employ every Satanic cliché in the metal canon. The lyrics are laughable, but the music is Don't Break the Oath-era piercing, with Shermann and Denner offering up a solid duel attack. Not exactly groundbreaking, but not entirely bad, either.
Palestinian Pic—The “People Before Profit” film/lecture series returns on Thursday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m. with a screening of Jenin, Jenin. The film is described as a riveting and troubling documentary account of the Israeli Defense Force's spring 2002 military invasion of the Jenin Refugee camp deep in the Palestinian West Bank. The night's speaker will be Ben Jones, who recently returned from a three-month tour in Jenin, Palestine, working with the International Solidarity Movement. The screening/lecture is free and open to the public and will take place at the Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center (202 Harvard SE).
In the arena it's a winner; out of the arena it's on thin ice
The pleasantly sentimental sports drama Miracle begins with an under-the-credit montage of news footage spanning the decade 1970-79: Vietnam ends, Nixon quits, disco runs rampant, Carter gets elected, gas dries up, Russia invades Afghanistan. The sequence exists solely to inform viewers under the age of 23 that, yes, kids, there really was a decade known as the '70s. The makers of “That '70s Show” wouldn't lie to you. Those who lived it, however, may find their slumbering sense of nostalgia tweaked just enough to realize the horrible implications of this movie: Not only will we be exposing ourselves to the horror that is “hockey hair,” but we'll be combining it with the decade that gave us feathered locks on men. Hockey hairdos in the '70s? Could there be a more frightening skeleton in our nation's closet?
Nazi thriller not so thrilling
The controversial new thriller The Statement requires a certain suspension of disbelief from viewers. It's not the film's central conceit that the Catholic Church was complicit in the extermination of Jews during World War II that's hard to swallow. It's not even the idea that modern-day European church and government officials may be engaging in a conspiracy to hide former Nazi collaborators. No, the purely fantastical part is asking audiences to swallow Michael Caine as a Frenchmen.
Maria Chabot was 26 years old and Georgia O'Keeffe was 53 when the two women met in New Mexico in 1940 and quickly became friends. Chabot, an aspiring writer, began spending summers at the famous painter's Ghost Ranch. Later, she organized the restoration of O'Keeffe's decaying adobe house in Abiquiu.
The Three Athenas and A Royal Flush at 516 Magnífico Artspace
There's something serenely calming about the three towers Rachel Stevens has installed in the front chamber of 516 Magnífico Artspace. Suspended from long, white hooks, The Three Athenas stretch 24 feet from ceiling to floor, but they never quite make it all the way down, hovering just slightly, an inch or so above the floor. If you ask nicely, the gallery's administrators will even lift up the metal and fabric hoops and let you step inside so you can stare up into Athena's hollow interior, or out through the white mesh like a bird trapped in a cage.
Harwood Art Center
Frank Melcori and Karen Fox do some serious clowning in a new bit of nontraditional movement theater taking place starting this Friday at the Harwood Art Center. Melcori plays the clown Pantalone. Fox plays the clown Akira-me. Both move around in a lonely, post-apocalyptic world, bringing life to their layered, idiosyncratic, experimental allegory. Expect The History of Pantalone ... Before the End to be more Beckett than Barnum & Bailey. The show runs Fridays at 8 p.m. through Feb. 27. $10. 242-6367.
Drinking Coffee Elsewhere
Pat, Marcella, and the Kid
Island of Bones
The morning-after's ultimate parting gift: a hearty breakfast
You roll over on Sunday morning and look at the clock glowing 7:45. Your head hurts, you roll the other direction and see her. Suddenly it all comes back to you: playing pool, drinking beer, the cute girl, late-night whiskey shots, bringing her back to your house. And she's still in your bed!
Up in upper Nob Hill lies a very cool little restaurant and coffee shop called The Café Next Door, so named because it is attached to Sisters and Brothers alternative bookstore (4013 Silver SE, 266-7321). And if alternatives are what you're looking for, you'll certainly find them here. The menu is small but chock full of none-too-common dining options like wheat-free rye sandwich bread, vegan mozzarella, miso mayonnaise, organic coffee and soy ice-cream. Those of you who think you would never touch soy ice-cream with a 10-foot spoon might reconsider if your dining companion happened to order a two-scoop sundae topped with caramel and chocolate sauce (as mine did). No, it really doesn't taste as good as ice cream, but if I were a vegan or lactose intolerant I would probably really enjoy a soy sundae. Even more surprising was the vegan tofu “egg” salad. If you guessed that there weren't any eggs in that egg salad you'd be correct. But if you guessed that it tasted like wet cardboard you'd be wrong again. The stuff wouldn't pass for egg salad but it was reminiscent of the real thing and didn't incur any tastebud objections. Shocking but true. Check this place out for coffee, sandwiches or dessert any day of the week.
Uh-oh, Valentine's Day is creeping up and you've neglected to make plans. Some of the most popular, most “romantic” dining destinations are already completely booked but most still have reservations available. Take a look through this week's “Chowtown” listings for our recommendations on lovebird grub. If you're single (and loving it!) you might ignore Feb. 14 completely or you might choose to celebrate your freedom by dining out with similar-minded friends. Get drunk! Eat like pigs! Be equally affectionate with all of your table mates and make the other patrons think you're having a meeting of the Polygamy Society! Wait, you say you weren't planning on making plans? Don't worry, wallowing in self pity is always on the menu for Valentines. Here's a simple recipe: Take one bottle of extremely cheap wine, add one bag sour cream and cheddar-flavored potato chips and one pint triple-chocolate chunk ice cream. Combine with four hours of Lifetime Television for Women and let the big tears roll! Best if served with one box Kleenex and one stack of old love letters.
If you're going to pay more for them you should know why
It's gotten so that even simple foods aren't so simple anymore. Who could have expected that we'd one day be comparing nutrition labels on cartons of eggs? But scientists and farmers have discovered that changes in their hens' feed can result in eggs that carry nutritional features attractive to consumers. It's entirely possible that we will one day have eggs that fight the flu, strep throat or athlete's foot. At least for now there is a limited number of features boasted by those cardboard cartons. As you're evaluating one box versus another (and whether you should pay more for “designer” eggs), keep these terms and definitions in mind.
Westside land deal smacks of insider politics and failed policies of the past
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?
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?”
Honeymoon could sour over public safety tax money
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.
“The L Word,” Showtime's drama about lesbian life, premiers in Albuquerque to a full house
“One thing that cuts across all our realities, that bridges all our differences, that's love,” Pam Grier shouts at Jennifer Beals in the new television series “The L Word.”
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.
The readers write.
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
"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?
Tom Parr talks about his plans to open three Ben and Jerry's Scoop Shops this year
You and your family own seven Pudge Brothers Pizza joints. What made you decide to get involved with Ben and Jerry's ice cream?
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.
This wordless wonder is a weird, witty winner
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.
Painterly picture looks pretty, feels pretty slow
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).
Paco de Lucia
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.
with The Cadillac Bob Band and Alex Maryol
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.
with Cracker (or vice-versa)
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.
Some writers write for money. Some write for fame. Others write just for kicks. Every once in a while, though, you'll come across a scribe who puts pen to paper intending to change the world.
Roberto Rugerio Guerrero at the Dartmouth Street Gallery
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.
National Hispanic Cultural Center
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.
Bookish events in February
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
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”
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.
Forget about market-driven solutions
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.
New water utility authority ails Albuquerque
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.”
The readers write.
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.
Celebrate the Year of the Monkey—in name at least
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.
From Andouille to ziti
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
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”
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.
Authentic Eastern European vocalism from a Berkeley, Calif.-based ensemble? Absolutely. Kitka's Wintersongs is in a class apart.
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
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.
The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly