Sandwiched between the Super Bowl and New Mexico's Democratic Presidential Caucus, playing opposite Bush's Budget of Ballooning Baloney, and going head-to-head with Punxsutawney Phil, the Feb. 2 City Ccouncil meeting adjourned in less than two hours.
Dateline: South Africa—A retired surgeon and his brother were killed in Polokwane last Friday when their homemade hyperbaric chamber exploded. Dr. Paul Eloff, 76, was undergoing treatment for poor blood circulation inside the pressurized oxygen chamber located in his brother's back yard. Eloff's brother Gerhard, 66, was standing near the heavy steel cylinder with his 27-year-old son Georg when the device exploded. The blast ripped open the steel wall of the cylinder, which was between four and six inches thick, and shattered windows on surrounding houses. Dr. Eloff's remains were found about 30 feet away from the chamber. Its hatch lay about 50 feet away. Georg escaped with only minor injuries, but the elderly brothers were killed instantly. “The remains were taken away in plastic bags. It was horrific,” neighbor Marieta Herselman told South Africa's Sunday Times. “It was like scraping leaves together in your garden and putting them in plastic bags.” A police spokesman confirmed that the chamber was a “homemade thing and they didn't have a license for it.” Hyperbaric treatment was originally developed to treat deep-sea divers for “the bends.” It is now used for a variety of ailments including carbon monoxide poisoning, anemia, bone infections and burns.
Heartbroken—If you're one of those cynical, unromantic types, then I'm afraid there's a reason to be even more cynical this coming holiday. Despite a certain amount of ballyhoo last week, the Alibi's Midnight Movie Madness screening of My Bloody Valentine scheduled for Feb. 13 and 14 has been cancelled. Though we had hoped to provide a romance-free zone this Valentine's Day with a showing of the classic 1981 slasher flick, Paramount Pictures determined that their last surviving print of the film was unsuitable for public viewing. (Would have been nice if they'd figured that out when we booked it a couple weeks ago.) Digging up these old film prints is a difficult and often frustrating task. It's downright scary to find out that these films may soon be unavailable. Seems that the print of My Bloody Valentine has been trashed over the years and Paramount just doesn't want to let it out the doors. It's a shame, and we're sorry to have raised the hopes of all you moviegoers looking for a good old-fashioned pickaxe murder to help coax your date into your lap this Valentine's Day. Looks like you're on your own now. Again, we're very sorry for the cancellation, but we'll be back in a week or so with a new Midnight Movie Madness offering.
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In yet another boneheaded decision by a local band, the formerly brilliantly named Mr. Spectacular have officially and rather unfortunately changed their name to Fivehundred, which, in my opinion, is meaningless and utterly forgetable, quite unlike the band formerly known as Mr. Spectacular. For their sake, let's hope they make their upcoming South By Southwset appearance as Mr. Spectacular, the band the SXSW folks are expecting. Congratulations, guys. And shame on you. ... The New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, who are not considering a name change, will host their first-ever media auction on Thursday, Feb. 12, at the NMSO offices at 4407 Menaul NE. Attendees will have the opportunity to cast their bids on more than 50 lots, including valuable advertising packages from many of Albuquerque's top media outlets. KKOB-AM afternoon windbag Jim Villanucci will provide stand-up comedy, while members of the NMSO will provide music during the event. All proceeds from the auction will benefit NMSO's youth education programs. Tickets are $20. Call 881-8999 for more information. ... If I don't mention the following this week, Mary B will hunt me down and kill me: Mary B and her parent company, 89.9-FM KUNM, will present Texas polka legends Brave Combo for the 713th time on Friday, Feb. 27, at the Paramount in Santa Fe, and for the 714th time on Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Sunshine Theater. Stay tuned to future issues for a full preview of these Polish-friendly events.
Thanks to its unforgettable opening melody, which invariably insinuates its way into the heart, Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto has earned a deservedly permanent place in the repertoire. Arcadi Volodos' rendition of the concerto is the third to arrive from a major label in the past few months. As with the other two, the first featuring Lang Lang backed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Daniel Barenboim (Universal Classics), the other showcasing 2001's Eleventh Van Cliburn International Piano Competition winner Olga Kern and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Christopher Seaman (Harmonia Mundi), the recording is available as an SACD-hybrid multi-channel disc.
Puddle of Mudd are like the book-learners you went to high school with: They studied Nirvana and the grunge movement with precision only to come away with a sterile knowledge of the music but no feel for its underlying soul. They're moderately effective emulators, but there's nary an original idea in their collective head. Life on Display is a bland, repetitive exercise in music that meant something a dozen years ago. Bereft of hooks or exemplary songwriting, it falls flat on its face in its first seconds and doesn't bother to struggle to its feet. Frat dicks will love it.
You'll never view the Bible in the same way again. El Jardín tweaks the bejesus out of the story of Adam and Eve, retelling the ancient Judeo-Christian myth in a way that spoofs everything from the Catholic Church to historic scholarship to colonialism to racism and gender bias. This bilingual play by Carlos Morton also presents a genuine slice of vintage Chicano protest theater as this genre first developed in the late '60s and early '70s.
A handful of us Bud-swilling, queso-consuming, Janet Jackson's boob-ogling partygoers powered through about a pound of the new black and white M&M's on Super Bowl Sunday. As you must already know, the different colored candy-coated chocolates don't taste noticeably different from each other. This is not surprising. But you might get a kick out of testing yourself the next time you sit down to a basket of tricolor tortilla chips. Because blue corn chips are made from a different kind of corn it seems logical that they might not taste exactly like white or yellow chips. And the bright red chips, which might be made with red corn but must also use some food coloring, have a completely novel flavor. While you're waiting for your food to come, eat a few regular white or yellow chips just to familiarize yourself with the flavor. Then break off three similar-sized chunks of the different colored chips into your hand. Close your eyes and shuffle them around a bit then pop one in your mouth. Chew it up and try to guess which one you're eating. You'll probably recognize the regular chip right away. Blue corn chips are often denser, grainier with a more earthy flavor. The red chips are mellower, almost sweet. There, that's your new party trick. I hope it wins you a few bets and a free margarita or two.
Roadrunner Food Bank's annual Souper Bowl, held on Jan. 24, raised more than $30,000 for hunger relief. The food bank provides more than a million pounds of food every month to homeless shelters, food pantries and soup kitchens throughout New Mexico. More than 20 restaurants competed in the Souper Bowl, serving up samples to hundreds of hungry guests who then voted for their favorites. Copeland's of New Orleans won first place for their crawfish and corn bisque; Ranchers Club's seafood bisque earned second place and Trattoria Trombino took third with an unlikely sounding favorite: spinach and mascarpone soup. A panel of six judges also chose favorites in a blind tasting. Critics' Choice Awards went to McGrath's at the Hyatt (green chile chicken with wild rice), Copeland's of New Orleans (the crawfish and corn bisque again) and Peppers of Albuquerque (green chile crab chowder with red chile dumplings). Flying Star Cafés and Gold Street Caffe tied for the Best Presentation award. Desserts were more prominent at this year's Souper Bowl and several stood out. The Marriott Pyramid wowed the crowd with a sparkling apple cider dessert soup, chocolate passion fruit mousse, lemon cream puffs and chocolate espresso pyramids.