OK, we realize, of course, that there are plenty more than 50 reasons to get off your sofa and into the great New Mexican outdoors. Our intention here is to offer a broad spectrum of things to do in places that are in some instances right in your own back yard, in others a few (or few hundred) miles down the highway. We also wanted to provide brief profiles of the places we've been to that have most inspired us. In some cases, the locales are sacred to us, so the fact that we're willing to share even those should let you know just how much we love you.
Meet Joe Blog. Here in New Mexico, when it comes to local and state politics, there is one seasoned wonk, one long-time news reporter and political consultant living large in his own Internet grist mill, that stands above the rest. Of course, “Thin Line” is talking about the inimitable Joe Monahan.
At the May 3 meeting, Council President Michael Cadigan moved yet another vote on extending Paseo del Norte through the Petroglyph National Monument as required by an agreement with Gov. Bill Richardson to allocate over $3 million to the project. But Councilor Brad Winter moved for a two-week deferral.
Dateline: Florida—A drug enforcement administration agent who was giving a gun safety demonstration to a group of children concluded the lecture by shooting himself in the leg. The agent, whose name was not released, was doing the presentation in front of about 50 students and adults at the Orlando Minority Youth Golf Association. According to witnesses, he drew his .40-caliber duty weapon, removed the magazine and pulled back the slide. A police report confirms that he then asked an audience member to confirm that the weapon was not loaded. Witnesses said the gun was pointed at the floor and when the agent released the slide, one shot fired into the top of his left thigh. “The kids screamed and started to cry,” Vivian Farmer, who attened the presentation with her 13-year-old nephew, told Local 6 News in Orlando. “Everyone was pretty shaken up, but the point of gun safety hit home. Unfortunately, the agent had to get shot.” The agent was treated at Orlando Regional Medical Center after the April 9 shooting and returned to work. Police ruled the shooting an accident, but the DEA in Washington is still investigating.
Star Wars—Madstone Theaters will be hosting a benefit this weekend for the Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center. The theater will be screening Arsenal of Hypocracy: The Space Program and the Military Industrial Complex on Sunday, May 16, at 3 and 5:30 p.m. This video presentation features Noam Chomsky, anti-nuclear scholar/activist Bruce Gagnon and Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell talking about the dangers of moving the arms race into outer space. The documentary includes archival footage, Pentagon documents and numerous interviews. There will be a question and answer session between shows. Tickets are a mere $5 and can be obtained at the Madstone box office at 6311 San Mateo NE.
In response to my statement of two weeks ago in which I wrote that Unit 7 Drain were among two bands that "whined like babies" about their time slot and/or venue placement, several members of the band cited conflicts with their employment schedules as the reason for requiring a time slot later than 9 p.m. Sounds reasonable enough. Apologies therefore to Unit 7 Drain, their fans and anyone who thought I was too big an asshole to acknowledge my own mistakes and apologize for them. Rage Against the Machine, however, offered no such explanation, threatening instead to write a letter to the editor (a.k.a. Yours Truly) challenging me to a public brawl. The arrival of said letter—and brawl—is still anxiously awaited. ... This past Saturday night I managed to drag my crusty ol' ass out to the Launchpad for the Icky and the Yuks tour kick-off. I felt young again ... until about 12:30 a.m., but I did manage to make it all the way through part of Icky's set. Other highlights of the evening were masterful, thunderous sets by Fivehundred and Black Maria, not to mention the always slightly disturbing Beefcake in Chains. Head 'Cake Steve Eiland won the award for best Icky-themed T-shirt, which I can't comfortably describe even in this rag. Anyway, Icky are on the road for the next 12 days or so, returning just in time for Jay Collins and Richard Trott to catch the plane that will deliver them to a fishing boat off the coast of Alaska for about six weeks. No, really.
Along with Paul Butterfiled, Mississipi-born, Memphis-rasied harpist Charlie Musselwhite can be credited for giving the so-called white blues movement of the '60s a leg to stand on. Already a master of the blues harp by his late teens, the then twentysomething Musselwhite had moved to Chicago and begun to absorb the intricacies of its urban blues sound. It's a style that Musselwhite has remained faithful to for the better part of 40 years. Still, the 60-year-old musician is regarded as one of the most adventurous bluesmen around, within his chosen idiom. And he's got 14 W.C. Handy awards and half a dozen Grammy nominations to prove it.
Thursday, May 13; Puccini's Golden West Saloon (21 and over, 9 p.m.): Guess what! It hasn't all been done before. It's safe to say that Australian-born, Los Angeles-based trio, Brother, are the first to eschew guitars in favor of dueling bagpipes in a rock format that draws on everything from Beach Boys-esque harmonies and sunny, SoCal pop to Latin rhythms and ancient, Aboriginal drones. And that's not to mention the Celtic undertones that drive most of the songs on their new album, Urban Cave.
Frankly, this is one of the worst albums I've ever heard—a sonic travesty even by my forgiving '80s metal standards. Every washed-up member of every washed-up band you can think of appear in various configurations, churning out pedestrian versions of the same old KISS songs that have been remade dozens of times. So why bother? Because for KISS fans, the accompanying DVD is almost worth the price. Think of it as an if episode of "Behind the Music" without the script or narration—just a bunch of aging rockers further contextualizing KISS with sincere commentary. CD = drink coaster.
After a couple of grueling hours in the ring, Tony Santiago emerged as the city poetry slam champion for the second year in a row. The final Grand Slam contest took place on Saturday, May 1, in front of a sold out audience at the Outpost Performance Space. The contest determined not only the reigning champ, but also the additional four members of the Albuquerque team who will compete at the National Poetry Slam in St. Louis in August.
Before you volunteer to host a fondue party you should probably 1) own a fondue pot, 2) know how to make fondue and/or 3) spend a moment or two considering what the cost of such an endeavor is going to be. I hadn't really given much thought at all to any of those things before I proposed fondue for a co-ed baby shower to be held at my house. Now, of course, I know it's likely that a dozen of your closest friends, no matter how young or capable in the kitchen, all own fondue pots. In fact, they'd be delighted to bring them to your place—and leave them there. I think this is because most people don't know how to make fondue, though as I know now, it's not really very hard, just labor intensive. There are pounds of cheese to be grated and giant blocks of chocolate to be smashed to bits with a hammer. Which brings me to the second reason why nobody has fondue parties anymore: It's surprisingly expensive. Cheese, chocolate and cream are all more dear than we'd like them to be but never more so than when you're buying in bulk. Granted, I made enough melty-dippity goodness to feed a (drunken) army, but next time I think I'll feed them filet mignon instead.
The bad news is that Albuquerque's only Afghan restaurant is no more. That's right, after a short two and a half years Tora Bora House (Montgomery and San Pedro) has closed its doors for good. The good news is that in Tora Bora's place will be another kind of ethnic restaurant that the city has been craving. By the end of May, a small group of partners plan to transform Tora Bora's space into a soul food restaurant called Mahogany Café. I haven't seen the menu yet but one of the partners, Jacinda Holden (formerly of Renaissance Catering) tells me it involves fried green tomatoes, buttermilk biscuits, stewed greens and candied yams. More details will be forthcoming when they're finally open but I do know they're planning to host gospel brunches every Sunday. Lord have mercy on my waistline!