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.
An Interview with an Albuquerque couple living well below the poverty line
Chuck Hosking and Mary Ann Fiske won't be paying personal income taxes this year. In fact, it's been two decades since they've had to. The couple married in 1971 after meeting in New York City's lower east side, and a deliberate process of downward mobility has been a part of their life together from the beginning. Their annual income is well below the $15,800 taxable minimum for a married couple, and every year they donate over half of what they earn to charities in impoverished nations, such as giving thousands of dollars annually to a health clinic in Nicaragua.
Local peace activists share expertise on the IRS
As we go through the yearly ritual of glumly assessing our own tax bills, we are simultaneously digesting news of war in strong daily doses: increasing fatalities, fresh conflicts and the startling numbers associated with funding on-going military endeavors. Military spending, which had been on a modest decline through most of the '90s, is again rising sharply. And we are paying for it.
Strange, pulsating hum baffles Sandia Heights resident
Phil Ciofalo, 81, is tired of being pestered by a constant humming noise in his house—and is even more annoyed by the fact that he can't figure out where it originates.
Ciofalo, a retired chemical engineer, has lived in his far Northeast Heights home since 1984. His doctor says he has the hearing of a newborn baby. He started hearing the noise roughly three and a half years ago.
"The sound got worse (with time) and now it's going on day and night. You hear a vibration like a truck idling in your driveway."
Ciofalo said at first people thought he was crazy but then they began to hear it, too. "People ask 'how can you live with the noise?' I have a cassette player and natural sound tapes to help me sleep." Ciofalo said a friend of his described the hum as a steady stream of noise accompanied by an intermittent pulse. Similar complaints have been reported in Taos for years.
Bookmark it. Now here's a cause that's as noble as the challenge. FactCheck.org wants to reduce the level of confusion and deception in political TV ads.
Haiti's Sad Tutorial on Democracy
It is too bad that our actions speak louder than our words. If that were not so, our treatment of other countries would go into the history books as benign, altruistic, principled. We would be trusted. We would be a beacon of hope. Those are the things that our leaders have always said we stand for.
Dateline: France—A 35-year-old artist, allegedly traumatized over the recent bombings in Spain, was convicted of trying to run over a pedestrian he believed to be Osama bin Laden. The artist, identified only as Pierre, was sentenced last Tuesday by a court in southern France. Pierre was handed a three-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay the victim $615. "If it was [bin Laden], we would have won $5 million," said Pierre's lawyer, David Mendel, referring to the U.S. government's reward for the wanted terrorist. Unfortunately, the victim was not bin Laden. The pedestrian—a man in his 30s—was able to run away from Pierre's car, which crashed along the side of a street near the historic center of Montpellier. Mendel told the court that his client was "the victim of a hallucination."
Like watching the credits for LOTR: Return of the King, the March 15 council meeting made one aware of the thousands of people working off screen as city employees, outside experts, volunteers, neighborhood groups, consultants, boards, committees and interagency coordinators. Reports on the 2025 Metropolitan Transportation Plan and the Middle Rio Grande Regional Water Plan represented two of the largest efforts.
The readers write.
Who's Uncle Graham?—Filmmaker Candy Jones takes viewers on a humorous, but insightful 60-year tour through New Mexico's nuclear history in her new documentary Do It for Uncle Graham. The film will screen on Saturday, March 27, at 11 a.m. at the Guild Cinema in Nob Hill. Exploring her "big three" topics—denial, deception and creative communication—writer/director/narrator Jones takes us from Trinity to Hiroshima to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant to examine some well-known and some not-so-well-known events in our state's history. Interviews include former Secretary of the Interior Stuart Udall, Navajo Tribal President Joe Shirley and New Mexico Interior Departments James Bearzi. The film is inspired by Jones' relative, Uncle Graham, a former State Legislator during New Mexico's pioneer days. For more information on the film and the screening, log on to www.doitforunclegraham.com
Making lemonade out of unwanted lemons
Ben Affleck has had an amazing career, nailing roles in hit films such as Good Will Hunting, Armageddon, Dogma and Changing Lanes. He's got the ability to play the jerk as well as the compassionate guy, but when it comes to romantic characters Affleck should leave them to the experts instead of getting in over his head the way he did in Gigli, and now Jersey Girl.
“Kenny vs. Spenny” on GSN
Following the “Great Blackout of 2004”—during which all Viacom channels were removed from the DISH Network service for a torturous 48-hour period—I found myself scraping the bottom of my satellite dish, looking for some small scraps of entertainment. At the time, there was every possibility that I would never see the likes of Comedy Central, Nickelodeon or MTV2 ever again. Since life without “Spongebob Squarepants” was far too dark to contemplate, I flipped channels searching for solace in some heretofore-undiscovered gem. I can't say I found very many of them, but I did spend a bit of time checking out some stations I'd previously remote controlled my way right past.
Highlights from around the dial. Except no one has dials anymore.
A Trip to the SXSW Film Festival and Conference
Cannes is the prestigious film festival. Hollywood goes there to rub elbows with Europeans and to prove how arty it is. Sundance is the trendy film festival. Hollywood goes there to see and be seen. Toronto is the industry film festival. Hollywood goes there to sell product and to promote its upcoming slate of movies. Which leaves Austin's annual South by Southwest Film Festival and Conference with one distinction. SXSW is the cool film fest.
The Eyeliners are back on the radar this week, and are pleased to announce plans for a new record in the near future. The prolific punk rock trio were recently approached by Joan Jett and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts producer Kenny Laguna about working together on a new album to be released on Jett's Blackheart Records. The Eyeliners will begin recording next month in New York City. Eyeliners bassist Lisa says the band have 14 new songs ready to go that are far better than anything they've done in the past, saying, “We have grown so much as musicians in the time since Sealed With A Kiss was released and we intentionally spent a lot of time writing this record. We have never had the extravagance of spending this much time in the studio, so [we] promise that this album will be well worth the wait.” ... Local Top 40 cover band Wyld Country will give a free concert on Saturday, March 27, at Camel Rock Casino (10 minutes north of Santa Fe) at 9:30 p.m. in the Rock Showroom in case you get sick of losing at the roulette table. ... Violinist Willy Sucre and a few of his musical pals will perform once again for the Placitas Artists Series on March 28, at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church at 3 p.m. The quartet will perform works by Copland, Steinbach and Brahms. Tickets are $15. Call 867-8080 or visit www.PlacitasArts.org for more information.
The Roswell Rudd-Duck Baker Duo
There's really nothing surprising about Roswell Rudd's latest musical endeavor. To be sure, a duo consisting of trombone and fingerpicked acoustic guitar is an unlikely combination of instruments to say the least. But Rudd, afterall, is considered one of the pioneers of avant-garde and free jazz. Rudd recently questioned in a public letter how a 68-year-old veteran Dixieland player such as himself could still be considered avant-garde. Well, Ros, there ain't too many 68-year-old trombonists tearin' it up on stage with acoustic guitar virtuosos in a free jazz format.
Wednesday, March 31; El Rey Theater (21 and over, 8 p.m.): Not surprisingly, Jimmie Vaughan has long been overshadowed as a musician by the astonishing six-string prowess of his late younger brother Stevie Ray. But it was the tragic death of Stevie, not that he was a far superior guitarist to Jimmie as many believe, that forever enshrined him as the greatest blues revivalist that ever lived. Fact is, it was Jimmie Vaughan that captivated American audiences in the '70s and '80s with the most original blues sounds since Buddy Guy. It was Jimmie who inspired Stevie Ray to play. See, Jimmie's the roots of it all, widespread popularity notwithstanding.
Thursday, April 1; Macey Center (N.M. Tech Campus, Socorro, all ages, 8 p.m.)/Saturday, April 3; Outpost Performance Space (all ages, 8 p.m.): Chris Smither always manages to sound real on his records. Like he's living the songs he sings every day. In a sense, that's exactly what the 50-year-old acoustic bluesman is doing—living the very truths he sets to music. Smither's childhood wasn't unpleasant, but it wasn't stable either. His parents, university professors, moved the family from Miami to Ecuador to Texas to New Orleans to Paris back to New Orleans, all by the time Smither was 13 years old and already fascinated by music.
The Foxx guitarist/vocalist Juliet Legend has found her niche. After several recordings and tours with the Rondelles, she's proceeded to co-front a band that perfectly blends campy '60s pop and the kind of trashy '70s glam rock that exploded out of Alice Cooper and the New York Dolls. Garage guitars and a strict Romantics groove lend themselves perfectly to dual, male/female vocals and syrupy-but-sincere lyrics, mostly about the boy-girl stuff that makes the world go 'round. "Ready to Go" is a hit waiting to happen, and my current favorite song, period. The next band signed out of Albuquerque? Very likely.
I'm a big fan of bizarro music, and nothing in the modern musical universe is more bizarre than contemporary "classical" music. From freaky polyrhythms to scales that have no relation whatsoever to the standard 12-tone note series familiar to Western listeners, you never know what you're going to get.
Alexander Rodchenko: Modern Photography, Photomontage and Film at the UNM Art Museum
Hopping from Vancouver to California to New York to Spain, a major traveling exhibit of work by the legendary Russian avant-garde artist Alexander Rodchenko has finally made its way to Albuquerque. The exhibit offers viewers a rare opportunity to consider the profound contributions Rodchenko made to 20th century modernist art while working within the restrictive confines of an authoritarian state.
I love a good cemetery, largely because death and decay, like chocolate and peanut butter, always seem to go so well together. David Bach and Lauri Dickinson's interest in cemeteries is somewhat less morbid than mine. A new exhibit of Bach's black and white photographs and Dickinson's wax-encased mixed-media images focuses on the quiet, gentle aspects of bone yards all over the world. The Way of All Flesh opens this Friday, March 26, with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Inpost Artspace. The show runs through April 26. 268-0044.
Director David Nava has brought a new production of Shakespeare's disturbing tragedy Othello to the Adobe Theater stage. As head of the American Shakespeare Project, Nava has plenty of experience staging Shakespeare, so this classic tale of revenge, jealousy and betrayal should be worth checking out. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Sundays at 2 p.m. $12 general, $10 students/seniors. The play runs through April 11. 892-0697.
Book of the Dead
The Anatomy of Fascism
There is a certain kind of relief found by throwing up. Like its bodily function cousins the sneeze and the orgasm, vomiting is the culmination of a sometimes lengthy lead-up—though in vomit's case, the lead up and release are much, much less enjoyable. Of course this pertains to the I-should-never-have-eaten-from-that-taco-stand kind of terrible food poisoning retch, or the I-would-rather-die-than-live-like-this variety of convulsive hurling, rather than the sudden surprise of the what?-I-only-did-three-beer-bongs sort of projectile upchuck. Most drunken barfing (like most other bodily functions that occur while drunk) is subdued by numbed nerves and doesn't have the same kind of painful prelude or remission. But when you're really sick and the body is telling you to purge, dammit, purge! there often comes this rebellious sense of reluctance, a back-pedaling of the intestinal tract. The gut warns that it is prepared to eliminate all offending contents but the brain says no, no, no! Batten down the hatches! Which is silly, really, because the post-vomit sensation of cool porcelain snuggled up against your hot cheek is the best feeling you'll have had all day. So embrace retching, I say. Be one with your nausea and approach the coming heave with at least the same casual disregard you would a sneeze or at best, with something more like eager gusto.
The city's first Ben and Jerry's Scoop Shop opened last week at 11225 Montgomery NE (at Juan Tabo). Three new Ben and Jerry's flavors are now available at the shop and this lucky girl was able to preview them a few days before the opening. Chocolate Carb Karma has a reduced carb count for those of you Atkins dieters Jonesin for some ice cream. Primary Berry Graham is a strawberry cheesecake ice cream with a stripe of graham cracker that will make you dig through the pint to follow its rich vein. By the way, both Primary Berry Graham and Dublin Mudslide (Irish cream liqueur ice cream with chocolate, chocolate cookies and coffee fudge swirl) are partners with Rock the Vote's voter registration and motivation campaign. Pints of these flavors carry nonpartisan voter registration information on the containers and portions of the proceeds will benefit Rock the Vote.
A chat with Michele Bernard
Dos Amigos, a down-to-earth New Mexican restaurant at 2039 Fourth NW, has only been open about a year but by the looks of the steady stream of regulars flowing in and out, the place could have been there for generations. Co-owner Michele Bernard talks about what gives the place that old-time feeling.
Roberta Flack Performs at Popejoy Hall's Gala Fundraiser
When you've booked a star that shines as brightly as Roberta Flack, you're bound by cosmic law to make the event more special than usual. Which is exactly what Popejoy Hall's Leadership Team did. Rather than simply produce another in a long line of remarkable Ovation Series events, Popejoy's powers-that-be felt they were faced with the perfect opportunity to host their first-ever fundraising event.
Of all past University of New Mexico presidents, Thomas L. Popejoy ranks among those least likely to be concerned with the construction of new buildings, much less with having one named after himself. Popejoy served as UNM president from 1948 (although he wasn't officially inaugurated until June 5, 1949) to 1968, the longest term in the history of the university. Unlike most of his predecessors, Popejoy concerned himself less with new buildings and programs than he did with what he believed was the heart of the university—its faculty and students. In fact, when first approached about the possibility of having the very concert hall that now bears his name dedicated to him, Popejoy refused, saying that no one on the university's payroll should have a building named after him or her. Popejoy's love for the university ran deep. Born near Raton, N.M., in 1902, he attended UNM as an undergraduate from 1921-25, majoring in economics and playing football. When he became the first native New Mexican to become the university's president, UNM had a student body of roughly 4,400. By the time Popejoy retired, the number had increased to nearly 14,000.
By the time this issue reaches your hands, I'll probably be sunning myself by the hotel pool, drinking non-alcoholic beer and stuffing my pie hole with barbecue as part of my South by Southwest 2004 coverage. While I'm out of town, there are a few shows going on locally that you should pay particular attention to. For instance ... guitar god and honorary Albuquerquean Eric McFadden will haul his trio back to the Launchpad on Friday, March 19, where he'll host an evening of live music by the likes of himself, Jason (Daniello) and the Argonauts and the next mayor of Albuquerque, Stan Hirsch. ... Icky and the Yuks will perform with the Amputees (formerly the Angry Amputees), the Hollowpoints and Coke is Better with Bourbon on Sunday night, March 21, at the Atomic Cantina. ... On Monday, March 22, head to Sonny's Bar and Grill for a head-splitting, mind-bender of a rock show featuring High On Fire, Dysrhythmia, Black Maria and one of my favorite math bands of all time including national acts, Simulacrum. The Foxx will be back from their jaunt to SXSW in time to make rock at Burt's on Tuesday, March 23. A pretty good week for local shows in Albuquerque if I do say so my damn self! See you next week.
Mary Gauthier: Renaissance Woman
She's been a troubled teen, a runaway, a drug addict, a drunk, resident of a Kansas City jail, an accomplished student of philosophy at Louisiana State University, a graduate of the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts and founder/owner/chef of the award-winning Dixie Kitchen Restaurant in Boston. But for the past eight years or so, Mary Gauthier (pronounced Go-Shay, the Louisiana way) has focused all of her energy on reinventing herself yet again, this time as a singer-songwriter. And after three albums, each better than the previous, it looks like she's once again scripted her own success.
Saturday, March 27; Super-secret AMP location (call 842-5073 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations and directions, all ages, $10 donation): Talk about cultural diversity. San Francisco-based duo Four Shillings Short meld the traditional music of the British Isles and India with American folk to create a vibrant musical adventure that's as eclectic as they come. Consisting of Cork, Ireland native Aodh Og O Tuama and San Diego-born Christy Martin, Four Shillings Short utilize more than 10 instruments ranging from ancient to modern—tinwhistle, Medieval and Renaissance woodwinds, dumbek, hammered dulcimer, banjo, sitar bodrhan, etc.—in the creation of folk music that relies on ethnic idioms for its lively character.
Let's keep things simple at the outset: There are kick-ass bands (Osmium, Systemic, Soultorn, Low Twelve, Bite the Hand), mediocre bands (Blessed with Pain, Pro-Pain, Three Headed Moses, PCP, Condemned, Ominous) and kinda lame ones (Slugtrail, Alchymist, Skeptic, Skitzo) on this debut DVD installment from the good folks at Heavycore.org. That said, Roasting Posers: Vol. 1 features videos by 16 heavy ass bands from all over the United States that could kick your ever-lovin' ass, and the whole affair is quite entertaining, even when the videos themselves aren't.
Singer-songwriter Slaid Cleaves third record proves once and for all that you don't have to be Texas-born to make pure Texas music. The Maine native's last record, 2000's Broke Down, was hailed by the Austin Chronicle as "the first great Texas album of the 21st century." Difficult as that particular accolade might be to eclipse, Cleaves has done it with Wishbones. Lyrically striking and a writer of visceral, ironic melodies, Cleaves is a near-perfect combination of Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett. Four years between albums allowed Cleaves to go from critics' darling to trustworthy songwriter, and the result rages.
Unseen Gallery—a new exhibit space specializing in fantasy, art nouveau, erotica, surrealism and other fringe art—opens this week at 108 Morningside SE, just east of the Nob Hill Shopping Center. During the grand opening from Wednesday, March 17, through Saturday, March 20, you can chow on homemade cookies, fudge, chips and dip and slurp unseen punch while browsing original work by Darla Hallmark, Josie Mohr, Jess Taddick, Daral Crowne and Rita Coleman. Call 232-2161 or log onto unseengallery.com for details.
Memory Boards: Exploring Hybrid Histories at Trevor Lucero Studio Artspace
The primary motif galloping through these paintings is the gaucho, the cowboy of the southern South American grasslands. In these complex, multi-layered images, artist Fabrizio Bianchi, whose parents are Argentinean, explores countless surprising facets of this romantic icon from his ancestral motherland.
Two actors, Max and Mercy, attempt to claw, bite and growl their way to success in the jackal eat jackal world of modern Hollywood. Methods to Madness is a dark comedy about the nasty side of Tinsel Town. The play, written by Joel Murray and directed by Gabrielle Johansen, opens this week at the Vortex. The director promises audiences the recommended daily allowance of sex and violence. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. $10 general, $8 students/seniors. Sundays at 6 p.m. $8. Runs through April 4. 247-8600.
A Company of Three
The Darkside of Eden
Writing the Southwest
College Republicans discover UNM faculty leans liberal
Last week, Scott Darnell, a well-groomed and articulate spokesman for the New Mexico Federation of College Republicans called a press conference in the UNM Student Union Building to announce the political affiliations of undergraduate professors at UNM. An accompanying pie chart revealed 83 percent of the undergraduate faculty registered to vote are Democrats, while 11 percent are Republicans.
Sticking Larry Ahren's brain up a bug's ass would be like sticking a BB in a boxcar, part 2. According to his website, Ahrens, the voice of 770-KOB AM's local morning show, is "Albuquerque's morning radio legend." According to today's “Thin Line,” he's a jackass.
When the president filled out his enlistment papers, those forms included a checkbox asking whether he wanted to serve overseas or not. The president checked off the box labeled "I Do Not" volunteer to serve overseas.
Dateline: Indonesia—Couples caught kissing in public could face jail time thanks to stiff new legislation in Indonesia. A new anti-pornography ban before the nation's parliament includes a ban on kissing on the mouth in public. According to Britain's Sky News, the bill also bans public nudity, erotic dances and sex parties. "I think there should be some restrictions on such acts because it is against our traditions of decency," said Aisyah Hamid Baidlowi, head of a parliamentary committee drafting the bill. Anyone caught in a public lip lock could face a maximum penalty of five years in jail or a fine of $25,000.
Silence turns to despair in the streets of Spain.
On the way to visit my friends in Barcelona this evening I took the red and white Cercanías train, line one, the line that goes up the coast, the line that has become so much a part of my life since I moved out of the city. This is the same kind—the exact same kind—of well-built, efficient electric train that was blown up in Madrid only two days ago. I, along with thousands of others who live in outlying towns, take these trains every day. Old, young, rich, poor—everyone moves in these trains. They are the long legs of urban Spain.
Taos Take Two—While the famed Taos Talking Picture Film Festival is dead and gone, in-state film lovers can rest assured in the fact that the First Annual Taos Picture Show has risen from the ashes to replace it. The festival, although brand new, is loaded with familiar faces. Taos County Film Commissioner and director of the Taos Mountain Film Festival, Jonathan Slator has climbed on board as the Taos Picture Show's inaugural festival director. Kelly Clement and Jason Silverman, who served as program director and artistic director of the late, lamented TTPIX, have joined up to help program this year's event. Right now, it looks like 14 films will be included in the April 1-4 event. Local film fans will be pleased to note that two made-in-New Mexico films will be among the offerings. Blind Horizon, a thriller starring Val Kilmer and Neve Campbell, and Thief of Time, the newest Tony Hillerman mystery starring Wes Studi and Adam Beach, will both be screened at the festival.
Bittersweet mixture of modern love and the mind's eye proves unforgettable
With its unwieldy title taken from a poem by Enlightenment essayist Alexander Pope, it's clear that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is no ordinary romantic comedy. It is, in fact, written by Hollywood mad scientist Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind) and directed by music video god Michel Gondry (noted for his eye-popping imagery in vids by Beck, Björk and The White Stripes). The two teamed up previously on 2002's quirky failure Human Nature. Someone gave them a second chance, though, and we're all the better for it, because Eternal Sunshine is a startlingly beautiful, consistently surprising, endlessly inventive look at modern love and the mind's eye.
An interview with the cast of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Written by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich) and directed by music video pioneer Michel Gondry (Beck, The Foo Fighters), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is not your ordinary romantic comedy. The film follows a badly broken-up couple (Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet) who use an experimental procedure to erase each other from their memories. The film also features former Hobbit Elijah Wood as a computer technician in charge of scrubbing Carrey's mind, who uses those memories to seduce Kate Winslet. Alibi had the chance to chat with Winslet and Wood during the film's recent premiere in Hollywood.
Isn't it about time Starbucks gave you something back? How about some valuable compost, for free? Yeah, you guessed it, Starbucks, Satellite and most other coffee houses are easily persuaded to save their used coffee grounds for you. Sure, you should already be saving your own grounds but coffee houses produce enough to give your compost heap a real kick start. Call or stop in to your favorite java joint in the morning and ask if they'll save that day's grounds for you. Keep in mind that you'll probably have the best luck at the bean juice bar you frequent most. They may ask you to bring in a clean bucket or they may package the goods up in a plastic bag. You'd be surprised how much can accumulate in a day. Is it too soon to be thinking about compost? Naw. We've got about a month to go before the average last frost but with some days as warm as they've been it's not definitely not unreasonable to start working on your soil. This is the perfect time to buy a new composter or stake out a corner of the yard for a heap. Coffee grounds are high in valuable nitrogen but they're also quite acidic. To maintain balance, combine coffee grounds with crushed egg shells and vegetable trimmings from the kitchen. Work the grounds into the soil or add them directly to your compost heap.
Planning on dinner and a movie? Go to Café Voila and the movie's on them! This charming French restaurant in the shadow of the Marriott Pyramid has partnered with Madstone Theaters to give patrons two clever ways to save money on their dates. Option Number One: If you order full-priced dinner entrées, Café Voila will give you each a free movie ticket. Option Number Two: Bring your ticket stub from a Madstone matinee to Voila that same evening and they'll take the cost of your ticket (usually $5.50) off of your dinner entrée's price. I think it's a brilliant marketing idea for them and a screamin' deal for us. For full details call Café Voila (821-2666) or Madstone Theaters (6311 San Mateo NE, 872-4000).
What is that layer of oil on top, anyway?
My mom always used to buy that "natural" peanut butter that came with a thick layer of oil floating on top of the extra-coarse puréed nuts. I begged for Jiff but having already accepted the seven-grain bread and homemade quince jelly that were to make up the other parts of my PBJ equation I was screwed and I knew it. Now I'm a grownup and I can pick any peanut butter I want. But which one? Why does so-called natural peanut butter have that layer of oil on top? And what makes it different from Skippy?
Chef Kent Dagnall talks about salvation through vegan chocolate chip cookies
Big changes are afoot at the Blue Dragon, the little neighborhood hangout that straddles Girard's jog just south of Indian School. With a fresh coat of paint and some new menu concepts headed by Chef Kent Dagnall, the Dragon is gearing up for spring and their fifth birthday on Mother's Day. I recently dropped in on Kent, a long-time pal and culinary co-conspirator, to pump him for information and split one of their signature pizzas.
Battle over same-sex marriage licenses heads toward New Mexico court
Sometime back in the late 19th century, territorial governor Lew Wallace made what for some might seem like a timeless observation. “All calculations based on our experiences elsewhere fail in New Mexico,” he wrote.
Recalling an election in the pre-”Will and Grace” era
There was a time, not so long ago, when the prospect of legally sanctioned gay marriage playing a central role in presidential and congressional elections seemed about as remote as finding water on Mars. The idea was simply too radical. But times change. Between court rulings in Massachusetts and the seemingly endless eruption of brushfire rebellions (or blatant law-breaking, depending on your perspective) at city halls and county courthouses around the country, the same sex marriage debate is positioned to share top-billing with the economy, WMD, and the War on Terror not just this election year, but for probably a few more to come.
“Would you be in favor of allowing same-sex marriages in New Mexico?”
I think that they should have same-sex marriages. I don't see what the big problem is, personally. Maybe it's just how I grew up or what I was taught, but I don't see a problem. I mean, love is love. You know, we all love our friends and I don't understand why people can't love the same people that they are. So I think it's fine.
~ Local ~
Somewhere along the way to the protest, there was a breakdown in communication. An estimated 10 people showed up at the corner of Menaul and Louisiana on Saturday, March 6, planning to send a message to Rep. Heather Wilson that she was wrong to support the Iraq War and other Bush administration policies.
The protest was timed to coincide with Wilson's appearance on Clear Channel's 100.3-FM The Peak during a live broadcast at Coronado Mall that afternoon. The station was conducting their third annual Girl Scout cookie sale, where shoppers could buy a box and send them to the troops overseas, according to a Peak spokesman.
Indecent proposals. A fax, supposedly from radio behemoth Clear Channel, made the rounds to local media last week informing us that two local radio personalities had been suspended as part of Clear Channel's crack-down on indecency.
Not a blank check
As one of the strong supporters of the Planned Growth Strategy (PGS) on the City Council, I worked hard alongside City Councilor Michael Cadigan to make sure the public understood how the PGS would affect development patterns in the city. During the planned growth debate we attended numerous community and neighborhood association meetings and amended the PGS ordinance to take into account neighborhood concerns.
In recent weeks, the Albuquerque Journal's young Latino conservative columnist (Ruben Navarette), its young, preppy, conservative columnist (Rich Lowery), and at least two of its tired old Anglo conservative war horses (Cal Thomas and Charles Krauthammer) have all been steadily beating out page upon page of opinion to an identical rhythm.
At the March 1 meeting, councilors came in like lions, ripping through legislation with the gusto of a hungry pride ripping through a dead gazelle. The big item of the evening was Councilor Martin Heinrich's xeriscaping bill.
Dateline: Holland—A 32-year-old man says he will appeal a judge's conviction after being arrested for refusing to use a shopping basket at his local market. Carst Kijlstra, from Assen, went to the meat counter at the Eddah supermarket and tried to buy two pieces of veal. The assistant refused to help him because he wasn't carrying a basket. "I told her I didn't want one because it was nearly closing time," said Kijlstra. The assistant still refused to help him and called for the shop owner. The owner reiterated the need for a basket. Kijlstra left his money on the counter and went home. Shortly afterward, as Kijlstra was preparing the veal for his dinner, a police car arrived and took him off to the police station. "They put me in jail like a criminal, for half an hour," Kijlstra said. "Kijlstra knew he was a guest in the shop and that means he has to act according to the house rules," the prosecutor told the court. The judge agreed, ruling that Kijlstra was "trespassing" by ignoring the supermarket's compulsory basket policy, and fining him $150.
The readers write.
Highlights from around the dial. Except no one has dials anymore.
I once went a whole year without ever touching a doorknob. Like many Americans, I was paranoid about the fine patina of pathogenic mutants (e.g. bacteria) that encrusts most surfaces. I even used antibacterial hand gels, figuring that if I killed off the little bastards in biblical numbers, my own odds might improve. Come cold season, though, I was still wiping sniffles away (albeit with chapped, medicinal-smelling hands.) A recent report from Columbia University reaches the same conclusion I came to that miserable winter— using products with antibacterial properties can't keep you from ever getting sick. In fact, they may actually do more harm than good. The year-long study found that households that use antibacterial cleaning products are just as prone to sickness as those who don't. Why? Viruses, not bacteria, are responsible for most common infections and antibacterial agents don't kill viruses. Plus, when you scrub down your kitchen with sanitizing products, you're really just wiping out the weakest 99 percent of bacteria. This eliminates competition among the strongest strains and pushes them into a dominant position, where they're free to have wild microscopic orgies long into the night. Before long you've got a few trillion "superbacteria" that are harder to kill than a crypt full of zombies. So play it safe and only bring out the big guns when you have to— or else Bruce Campbell will kick your ass.
A specialty food store four-
Last month we ran a story about local specialty shops but several readers e-mailed to let us know we had omitted Fremont's Fine Foods (7901 Fourth, NW), a North Valley shop that is probably the Duke City's oldest specialty foods store. I spoke with Aimee Tang, great-granddaughter of Fremont's founder, about the shop and its long history of providing Albuquerque with gourmet imported foods.
Making your own cleaning products is cheaper and safer
It seems that cleaning sprays, foams, powders and gels get more high-tech every year. "New, no-scrub formula!" they scream from their labels. "Triple cleaning power!" Triple the cleaning power of what? Doing nothing? Nothing has been my method for a while now and—shockingly—my house is filthy. Finally humilated into the act, I recently geared up with rubber gloves and an arsenal of toxic chemicals, forcing my bathroom to submit to an all-out, day-long grime attack. Filth may yet win the war for control of my house but I won the bathroom battle.
Shootout at the OK Corral—Are you an aspiring filmmaker? How would you like the opportunity to shoot your very own Western at New Mexico's famed Bonanza Creek Movie Ranch (site of such famed films as Silverado, Lonesome Dove and All the Pretty Horses)? Primate Memory Factory, founder of the monthly 5-Minute Film Competition, has come up with an extremely cool promotion this month. Each month, PMF dreams up a theme and asks local digital filmmakers to shoot a short film around that particular subject. This month's theme happens to be "Westerns." To help get aspiring John Fords started, PMF is offering a chance to shoot at the Bonanza Creek Movie Ranch outside Santa Fe on Sunday, March 14. Fork over a mere $30 to help PMF cover expenses, and you've got the run of Bonanza Creek. The place is packed with western saloons, jail cells, windmills, cattle barns—all the great sets you need to shoot your very own mini-masterpiece. Word is there may even be props, costumes and horses available. All you need is a camera and an actor or two. The screening of all the entrants will take place on Friday and Saturday, March 26 (11:30 p.m.) and 27 (noon) at Madstone Theaters. That means you've got one day to shoot the film and less than a week to edit it. But it's only five minutes long—you can do it! Scheduling will be done on a first-come, first-served basis. To find out more info, log on to www.pmf5.com.
Getting to Know You, Getting to Know Myself
She's a professional Australian geologist who lives life on her own terms. He's a Japanese businessman who isn't used to loud, take-charge, aggressive women. So when Sandy Edwards (played by Toni Collette, The Sixth Sense) and Tachibana Hiromitsu (played by Gotaro Tsunashima, The Great Raid) are thrown together to work on a business deal, it's only natural that they instantly take a strong disliking and uncompromising attitude toward each other.
Teen queen hitchhikes to heck in intriguing indie
With its title liberally lifted from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass; and What Alice Found There, the sophomore outing by writer/director A. Dean Bell announces itself as a warped fairy tale about lost little girls and alternate universes. The girl in question is Alice (newcomer Emily Grace), a troubled teen from nowhere, Massachusetts, working a cruddy job, hanging out with a bunch of post-high school slackers and being indifferently raised by a poor single mother.
“Wonderfalls” on FOX
Bumped to mid-season due to a passing similarity to “Joan of Arcadia” (not to mention “Tru Calling”), FOX's “Wonderfalls” is finally seeing the light of day. It's about time, too. Among the many surprising aspects of the show is the fact that it's a delightful, quirk-filled stand-on-its-own comedy/drama.
Although they weren't officially “invited” to participate, The Foxx (formerly the Sweatband) will nonetheless be representing Albuquerque at South by Southwest in Austin next week, along with Fivehundred (formerly Mr. Spectacular) and the 12 Step Rebels (formerly the 12-Step Rebels). According to The Foxx's Zac Webb, the band will appear at The Bitter End at 7 p.m. with the Witnesses and Some Action, and at an undetermined time and venue with the Cuts and the Go. Fivehundred will do Burque proud on Wednesday night, March 17, at Pyramids at 7 p.m., while 12 Step Rebels are scheduled to tear shit up at Opal Divine's Freehouse on Friday, March 19, at 10 p.m. ... Unit 7 Drain are releasing a new record. The new full-length, titled Devices, will be released on Socyermom. The release party will be held Friday, March 26, at the Launchpad with The Mindy Set, Love Overdose, The Oktober People and Romeo Goes To Hell. The all-ages celebration will take place at the Tricklock Performance Space on Thursday, April 1, with The Mindy Set, Karen, Hit By A Bus and Scenester. ... The Todd Tijerina Band have just released the final version of their new record, Welcome Home, which is scheduled for review on these very pages in the weeks to come. For more information, visit www.toddtijerina.com.
Been Caught Steeling; The Oliver Lake Steel Quartet
Oliver Lake may be the most well-traveled alto saxophonist in history in terms of the countless musical lands he's visited (and continues to visit) during his 35-year career. Lake has played with everyone from Abbey Lincoln to Lou Reed, Björk and A Tribe Called Quest. In the '70s, he founded the Black Artists Group and, later, the World Saxophone Quartet. In 1998, in addition to his continuing work with various groups and solo artists, Lake created his Steel Quartet around the virtuosity of steel drummer Lyndon Achee. The group have released two visionary jazz records since their inception: 1999's Kinda Up and this year's Dat Love.
with The Handsome Family
Monday, March 15; Launchpad (21 and over, 9 p.m.): If there was a house band for the indie underground, it would be Joey Burns and John Convertino's Calexico. Few musicians are as well-versed and prolific as the highly indescribable duo. The pair have regularly served as rhythm section for the revolving door band Giant Sand for years (and 20-plus albums), as well as collaborating in and with Friends of Dean Martinez, Lisa Germano, Vic Chestnut, Victoria Williams and Richard Buckner. Under the name OP8, they backed Barbara Manning. They are the Booker T. and the MGs of the Western Hemisphere. As their own project, Calexico, named for a tiny border town straddling California and Mexico, they weave songs as soft as sand and as sharp as saguaro spines.
New York City's The Everyothers are what Urge Overkill would have sounded like had they chosen not to jump the Touch and Go ship for (brief) major-label exposure; what Bowie would sound like today had he not killed Ziggy Stardust. Obvious contemporary comparisons include The Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but dare I say there's more substance to The Everyothers' songs? Yes, yes I do. Lots of killer hooks, lots of swagger and lots of hyper-confident riffage. A near perfect melding of early '70s garage rock and '80s power pop.
Painters, sculptors, photographers and mixed-media artists: It's time to get your act together. Albuquerque Contemporary 2004, Magnífico's showcase of some of the best artists in the Albuquerque area, is right around the corner. If you live in Bernalillo, Sandoval, Valencia, Torrance, Socorro or Cibola counties, you may be eligible to participate. Artists who want to get in on the action should get their hands on an application by calling Magnífico at 242-8244 or logging onto www.magnifico.org to download a prospectus.
University Hospital Art Gallery
Norman Akers, a professor of art at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, delves deep into Native American mythology and culture in creating his stunning paintings and prints. An exhibit of his work is currently on display at the University Hospital Art Gallery. Sure, it's kind of a weird venue, but sick people need love too. Stop by sometime between now and April 30. Aker's work is definitely worth a look. Call 272-9700 or 272-6326 for more information.
Capture the Moment at the Albuquerque Museum
If you really wanted to make sense of the last 60 years in the history of the world, you would face a nearly impossible task. Read 100 books on the Vietnam War alone, and you will encounter 100 more or less contradictory interpretations. History never truly reveals itself, because we never have complete, unbiased access to the past. Capturing history, it seems to me, is like wrestling with a greased pig. You do your best even if you know you will never get a really good grip on the truth.