Top-placing burger makers to be celebrated June 20 to 27
Inquiring minds want to know: What’s your favorite burger in Burque? Weekly Alibi is hosting our first ever Burque Burger Week, which will showcase the city’s favorite burgermeisters as nominated by you, our lovely readers. The winning restaurants will each craft a special burger that they’ll only serve from June 20 to June 27. Nominations are open now, from May 23 to June 6. Flame on!
UNM leads a psychedelic renaissance
The city is crawling with bicycles …and it’s fabulous!
Ultra Health devotes to budding potential
Mark Chavez and Shenoah Allen Prepare for Prime Time
Two clean-cut lads stumble onto a brightly lit stage in their pajamas. They look out at the packed audience, then glance nervously at each other. After several moments of awkward silence, it becomes clear that they have no idea what they're doing there. It's like a bad dream, except funnier because it's happening to someone else.
While summer pool season commences this weekend, Rio Grande pool sits dormant for another year
In our sun-scorched climate, there is perhaps no greater gift from the taxpayers to local kids than a refreshing and affordable public swimming hole—when it's open.
Will the city ever get serious about managing growth?
I recently walked a mile in another man's shoes. Or more accurately, I drove 10 miles on Coors Boulevard during rush hour, and must say I have a better appreciation for what Westsiders go through every day.
Romero and Nelson contend for a shot to unseat Wilson
Supposedly, Bernalillo County Democrats are flaming mad about the current state of affairs in Washington, D.C., and are geared up, actually more than years past, to defeat Republican Heather Wilson this November. After all, she is a special case, because unlike most incumbents, she's vulnerable. They say Wilson is a phony like George W. Bush—she says she's for jobs, health care, environmental protection, education and supporting the Bill of Rights, and blah, blah, blah, but when you look at the record, all that rhetoric is just a sham. In reality, she's more like a sycophant in Dick Cheney's court than an independent, genuine New Mexican. And enough is enough!
There are a whole host of Republican and Democratic primary elections happening on Tuesday, June 1, which means it's time to do your civic duty and go to the polls. If you're not registered, or think you are but don't know what party you belong to, then you should stop reading now and go back to your feckless, vanity-bit existence.
The May 17 council meeting passed legislation revamping the Police Oversight Commission, updating a property wall ordinance, and authorizing budgets, bonds and goals. Chief Financial Officer Gail Reese's report on negotiations with developers of a proposed downtown arena raised serious questions about the eventual cost of the project. But the gut-wrenching, crowd-drawing issue at the seven-hour meeting was the proposed Paseo del Norte extension through the Petroglyph National Monument.
Dateline: Germany—A couple who went to a fertility clinic after eight childless years of marriage have been advised to try a radical new approach to impregnation: sex. Doctors at the University Clinic of Lubek subjected the couple to a series of examinations and found they were both apparently fertile and should have had no trouble conceiving. It took some time, but doctors eventually got to the root of the problem. According to a clinic spokesman, “When we asked them how often they had had sex, they looked blank and said, ’What do you mean?'” The devoutly religious couple apparently had never gotten the “birds and the bees” talk. “We are not talking retarded people here,” said the clinic spokesman, “but a couple who were brought up in a religeous environment who were simply unaware, after eight years of marriage, of the physical requirements necessary to procreate.” The 30-year-old wife and her 36-year-old husband are now being given sex therapy lessons at the clinic.
Man, if there's one thing El Paso's Lylah should never have done, is cover a Cure song, especially “Love Song.” But all's (mostly) forgiven, because the rest of their forthcoming album, New Religion, is solid and original. They'll be foisting said record upon the public on Saturday, May 29, at Puccini's Golden West Saloon or El Rey Theater (the press release was unclear). The record is also available at the angry teenager headquarters, Hot Topic, and Lylah will perform on the 2004 Vans Warped Tour. ... Speaking of new local records, The Mindyset (pictured above) releases theirs this week and the best band in the world called the Saddlesores have dropped their third release in 14 years on us. Titled Let it Suck, the album will be officially partied into existence on June 19 at the Atomic Cantina with Fast Heart Mart and the Rivet Gang in tow. Preview to follow in the coming weeks. ... Also on the new local album radar is Nels Andrews, who thus far has provided me with two copies of his new album that refuse to play on any CD player I own. However, if his live show is any indication, Andrews' record is one of the best local releases out there. ... Oddly, The Foxx still do not have a record deal. The world is stupid. ... Saw Dark Lotus last week (ridiculous, but funny) at the Sunshine. Also saw Unit 7 Drain (killer set plagued by early sound problems) open for the semi-acoustic New Model Army (boring!) at the Launchpad. Can't fucking wait for the Rage Against Martin Sheen show on Friday, May 28! Review forthcoming.
Outpost Ends its Spring Season with Gospel and Blues
As God and just about everyone in the Western world relish the seventh day as one of rest, televised sports, worship and/or yard work, brothers Chuck and Darick Campbell of the Campbell Brothers are hard at work. With the former on pedal steel and the latter on lap steel, the Campbell Brothers (also featuring brother Phil on guitar, his son Carlton on drums and gospel vocalists Denise Brown and Katie Jenkins) turn traditional African American gospel tunes into works of divinity—combining otherworldly energy and miracle talent to achieve a degree of spirituality through music few will ever achieve by any means. This is no average blues-gospel band. The Campbell Brothers, as the deeply religious occasionally say, are touched.
It's too bad that most of the lyrics on Darkest Hour's latest platter are indecipherable from guttural growling and low frequency shrieking, because the band have a whole lot of social commentary to get off their collective chest. The lyrics are printed on the J-card, but you'll need LASIK to read them. On Hidden Hands ... the band have reached a new pinnacle of intelligent, melodic brutality—a perfect balance of thrash, hardcore and death metal. You'll be hard-pressed to find a tighter, more complex set of songs than the nine here.
Louie's Relocates—Louie's Rock-N-Reels, Albuquerque's premiere destination for movie posters, celebrity photographs and all sorts of cinematic memorabilia has long been a Nob Hill staple. Long-time customers may have noticed that the store's location next to the old Lobo Theater has looked a tad empty in the last couple of weeks. That's because owner Louie Torres has packed up his posters and moved to a brand new location. After eight years in Nob Hill proper, the landlords decided they had different ideas for the Rock-N-Reels space, and Louie was forced to move on to (hopefully) greener pastures. The new store is located directly across from the UNM campus at 105 Harvard SE (right behind The Zone). Louie calls the new space “a little bit more intimate,” but promises that all your favorite classic and current movie posters will still be on display. In order to celebrate the new location, Louie will be giving away some very rare promotional posters. Come by the store and register to win a Lenticular 3-D Spy Kids poster or metallic foil Matrix Reloaded poster. The drawing will be held July Fourth weekend.
Coal-black Chinese film noir digs deep into economic desperation
Blind Shaft, a sparse film noir drama out of China, spends much of its time looking like a WPA photography project from the Great Depression. Shot documentary style on 16mm, the film feels painfully authentic. Which is more than appropriate. Bleak, barren and robbed of all but the most ashen of colors, the film trains its eye on China's poorest, most downtrodden citizens.
Fast food documentary gets to the bottom of an American problem
Last month, McDonald's dropped its long-standing “Super Size” promotion, featuring gigantic French fries and towering sodas. The company says the decision had nothing to do with the Morgan Spurlock's scabrous but entertaining new documentary Super Size Me, which implicates McDonald's (and the entire ubiquitous fast food industry) in the super-sizing of American asses. Perhaps, as McDonald's says, the timing is just coincidental. Still, it makes you think.
“American Idol” on FOX
By the time this column hits the streets, the third season of “American Idol” will be over. We'll know whether Diana DeGarmo or Fantasia Barrino will perform at next year's Super Bowl and then vanish from our pop culture radar. This season may be remembered a microsecond longer than the others, however, due to a swirl of timely controversy.
A couple pieces of wood, a roll of canvas and some oil paint: $104 million. On Wednesday, May 5, at Sotheby's auction house in New York, an anonymous bidder purchased Pablo Picasso's "Garcon a la Pipe" ("Boy with a Pipe") for this whopping sum, making it the new record holder as the world's most expensive painting.
Inversion at [AC]2
Descartes argued that the human body and the human mind are separate, but his theory never quite held up under close philosophical scrutiny. Given the structure of our nervous systems, it seems obvious to many scientists that the mind and body can't possibly be distinct—one can't exist without the other.
South Broadway Cultural Center
The vague and oft confusing realm commonly known as the unknown can teach us more than we realize—if we let it. Understanding life's accidents can fill in the blanks that everyday, structured reality delivers. At least that's the belief held by the artists featured in the new aldizorontophoskyphorniostikos: beauty in all things exhibit.
Outpost Performance Space
Los Angeles native Gary Eugene Jefferson's original, mural-sized still life, figurative and abstract paintings have been exhibited everywhere from New York City to Denmark, and with good reason. Having studied in both America and France, Jefferson combines traditional themes such as slavery, women's rights and African American culture with his European art influnces, which include Michelangelo, Vermeer and Van Gogh. His depictions of history's most troubling and chaotic times, combined with a vast knowledge of art history and an aptitude for abstract expressionism, have touched the hearts of hardcore critics as well as the part-time art lover. Jefferson's exhibit will be shown at the Outpost's Inpost Artspace starting today, and a reception will be held Friday, June 4, from 5 to 7 p.m. Runs through July 9. 268-0044.
I love meeting friends' parents when they come to town. It's often enlightening but it was especially educational last week when I had the pleasure to dine with the parents of a Pakistani friend. His mother cooked a feast and after we'd all been stuffed to the gills with curry, ice cream was served. As we savored bowls of Ben and Jerry's, I cornered the patriarch to talk shop—many years ago he had been the first dairy farmer in Pakistan to pasteurize his milk. After moving to America he continued his dairy work, branching out into yogurt and ice cream. It's not often I get to share a pint of New York Super Fudge Chunk with a dairy farmer so I seized the opportunity to ask him some burning questions like, "What is the difference between whipping cream and heavy cream?" The result of our very long conversation is this: cream labels are terribly misleading. Heavy cream is also known as heavy whipping cream, which is actually better for making whipped cream. Whipping cream (or light whipping cream) is capable of being whipped, unlike milk or half-and-half, but it makes a lighter, less stable whip. If none of this makes any sense just look for the percentage of fat on the cream carton. You'll need at least 30 percent fat in order to whip it. Mmm, whip it good.
Nob Hill's Korean BBQ House (Central Avenue and Bryn Mawr Drive) is giving new flavor to the concept of outdoor grilling. This June the restaurant will unveil 11 patio tables equipped with small, Korean-style barbecue grills in their centers. The tables, with stainless steel tops and wooden legs made from reclaimed wine barrels, will allow customers to grill their own meats in the traditional Korean fashion. The BBQ House will also be open for dinner on Sundays starting in June. Call 338-2424 for information.
Cuz it's, like, really important and stuff
This month, the Centers for Disease Control reported that their efforts to fight birth defects with folic acid have been largely successful. How successful? In January of 1998, it became mandatory for food manufacturers to fortify grain products (like enriched rice, cereals, breads and pastas) with folic acid. By December of that year, incidences of the birth defect spina bifida had decreased by 31 percent. "Impressive," you say, "but I'm not banking on having kids anytime soon ... what do I care?"
Dust off that blender, stat!
Ice, lime juice, booze. That's our prescription for the ugh-it's-really-getting-hot feeling that seems to have crept up on us all of a sudden. If all you can think about are Otter Pops, Slurpees and sno-cones then these pulverized potions are for you. Have a seat out on the patio, turn the sprinklers on and sip one of these refreshing cocktails. You'll be cooled off (and pretty buzzed) in a flash. Leave out the booze and you've got delish mocktails that'll please kids, twelve-steppers and pregnant ladies.
You can't tell the players without a scorecard
Hot weather and high ticket prices tell us that the summer movie season is here. Last year's sequel-glutted schedule actually represented a downturn in profits for Hollywood. Will this year's wider selection prove more profitable? This year, we've got everything from computer-generated ogres to computer-generated cats, from robotic Nicole Kidmans to bleach-blond Tom Cruises, from Princess Diaries to Cinderella Stories.
Environmentally friendly homes on display in Duke City
The political talk on CNN this week focused on the "great divide" in America, the dead heat in the presidential polls and the balance of presumed blue and red states on the electoral map. There is a similar divide that gets less attention in the mainstream media, but reflects our nation's attitude toward energy consumption and conservation. In New Mexico, perhaps the best symbol of this division is in Taos, where the state's first solar energy utility is being built in eye-shot of Valle Vidal, a pristine wilderness area that might soon be transformed by some 200 natural gas wells and a spider web of roads.
TJ Trout gets issue-oriented. In case you haven't noticed, the 94 Rock morning showman launched a new billboard where his mouth and nipples are covered with tape, with the mock-headline, "FCC-friendly radio." He designed the ad himself and, although it made me laugh like a howler monkey, he says it's not all tongue-in-cheek.
Heather Wilson's practiced hypocrisy is exceeded only by her arrogance. In a form letter recently mailed from her office, she responded to signatories of a MoveOn.org petition by saying, "I don't participate in these games, no matter which side of the partisan divide they originate on." The MoveOn petition, which has been signed by over one million people, urged her and other members of Congress to censure President Bush for misleading the American people on the reasons for invading Iraq. Apparently Wilson wants us to believe that when constituents who don't agree with her engage in the political process they're just playing "games."
Our tilted scales of morality at play in Iraq
I didn't want to write about the Abu Ghraib prison atrocities this week. The last thing this community needs is one more take on the subject, I decided.
Given the Iraq War's mounting costs and impossible goals, America should transfer sovereignty and come home.
The administration's Iraq policy is in shambles. Iraq has become a geopolitical humpty-dumpty that America cannot put back together, and the time has come for the United States to withdraw.
Dateline: Canada—A routine test of airport security turned into a Marx Brothers routine after security officers mistakenly sent a passenger home with a suitcase full of TNT. The TNT was supposed to be planted in the bags of a Montreal security agent. Instead, it somehow ended up stuffed into the luggage of an unsuspecting overseas passenger who arrived at Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport last Friday. The unnamed passenger went to a friend's house where he found the explosives concealed in a jam jar and placed inside his suitcase. The man immediately called Quebec provincial police. The TNT, which officials say had no detonator attached, was meant as part of a weekly test for bomb-sniffing dogs at the airport. Ironically, the dogs failed to detect the explosives. The passenger and his baggage were able to pass though airport security unchecked. “Our investigation is going to reveal exactly what happened,” airport security spokesman Pierre Goupil told TV network TVA.
It is with sadness that I report the tragic, untimely death of Morning Wood singer Chris Hotchkiss, who was killed in a traffic accident nearly two weeks ago. I didn't know Chris personally, but I did see his band a few times and know that he was a valued fixture in the Albuquerque music scene. A memorial show in Chris' name at the Launchpad is being planned, as is an article of remembrance and celebration of his life to be published in conjunction with the show in the weeks to come. My heartfelt condolences to Chris' family and friends. ... Fingerstyle guitarist Steven King with host a Taylor acoustic guitar workshop on Thursday, May 20, at the new Grandma's Music and Sound (9310 Coors NW, 292-0341) at 7 p.m. Admission is free! ... Vital Remains (featuring Deicide vocalist Glen Benton) will torture an all ages crowd at the Launchpad on Saturday, May 22, along with Black Dahlia Murder, Cattle Decapitation and Manias. ... Also on Saturday, if you're in the mood for a little jazz, check out Todd Simmons and Mary Birch at Milagro next to the Santa Ana Casino in Bernalillo. ... But if it's T Rex-esque rock 'n' roll swagger you're looking for that night, you might want to head to the Atomic Cantina for Chicago's The M's. ... Thanks to my man Mike Trujillo for the Jim Rome ticket!
Mark Turner, Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard Bring Latest Trio to the Outpost
This season's Monday Night Jazz Series will culminate in what promises to be a superb finale performance by one of the finest trios in contemporary jazz. Calling themselves Fly, the collective includes saxophonist Mark Turner, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, all of who have impressive pedigrees.
Turner's recording career as a leader stretches back to Yam Yam, his 1995 debut, and four later albums for Warner Brothers. Grenadier has played with Pat Metheny, Joshua Redman and Brad Mehldau to name a few, while Ballard has served alongside Chick Corea, Danili Perez, Guillermo Klein and Joshua Redman.
with Ya Ya Boom Project and Blue Bottle Flies
Friday, May 21; Launchpad (21 and over, 9 p.m.): No matter where you go you can do at least one thing: create rhythms. Bang on a pan with a spoon, whack a rock with a stick, put your hand under your armpit and squeeze—you can make beats, grooves, rhythms every and anywhere. I mean, think about it, as long as we are alive our heart beats a consistent rhythm that is as enchanting as it is tribal.
with Orange Goblin and Lamont
Tuesday, May 11; Burt's Tiki Lounge: I fucking hate it when bands go on late. After all, I do have a day job. But I also fucking love it when bands that go on late make having done so thoroughly worthwhile for the audience. Such was the case this night when Black Maria didn't hit the stage at Burt's until after 11 p.m., despite the fact that there were two bands to follow.
Operating as a collective under the Tangle Eye moniker, roots remix specialists Scott Billington and Steve Reynolds have created their latest project using the field recordings of legendary musicologist Alan Lomax as its foundation. Samples of a dozen or so a cappella performances recorded by Lomax between 1947 and 1960 get married to musical accompaniment courtesy of guests Corey Harris, George Porter, Jr., Dirk Powell and other contemporary roots musicians. The overall effect is stunning; disembodied voices of singers long dead fleshed out over grooves that are at once respectful of that era and uniquely modern. This one's pretty tasty.
Coming Soon (Well, Not That Soon)—Every summer, we like to cast our crystal ball ahead to the far-flung future. By now, we know the films that we'll be drooling over or avoiding like the plague this summer. But what about next summer? What cinematic delights await us in the summer of 2005?
Epic action flick looks great, feels too analytical
Way back in the day, heroes didn't need no stinkin' motivations. They were heroes. Pure and simple. They killed enemies, knocked over city walls and hunted down magical sheepskins if the legend so required. But in today's “let's all share our feelings with Dr. Phil” environment, storytellers can't resist the urge to examine everyone's inner child. Case in point: The overlong, overanalytical Troy.
Divine documentary searches for the Holy Grail of couches
Every family has a story. Every family has a couch. But very few have stories and couches like the family of Pearl Gluck.
It's “upfront” week in Los Angeles and, while the term may not mean much to the average Idiot Boxer, it's one of the most important words in the Hollywood lexicon. Upfront week is when the networks place their orders for new shows. For the past month or so, networks have been looking over the new crop of pilots, testing some of them in front of audiences and generally trying to guess which ones will be hits. This is the week that the networks put their money on the line, shelling out the dough for a full or half season worth of episodes.
The Week in Sloth
Lovelier and lovelier! Set in an attractive 7,000-square-foot loft near the corner of Fourth Street and Central Avenue, Fort 105 Studios contains 16 studio spaces and a large gallery. Since it opened in 1998, this unique cooperative venture has become a staple of Downtown Albuquerque's arts scene, catering to the needs of a wide range of art professionals. Photographers, painters, sculptors, carpenters, jewelry makers and musicians all call Fort 105 home.
There's still one week left to catch a three-person exhibit of abstract art at the Coleman Gallery. Diane McGregor paints dreamy wave-like oil canvases. Joyce Shupe specializes in constructing distinctive banded pieces with highly textured surfaces. Don Verynay creates polished vertical works with saturated pigments mixed with lava gel. Flow, a show of work by these three artists, runs through May 29. Swing through the gallery before this exhibit comes down. 232-0224.
St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal
Josquin des Prez was one of the finest Flemish composers of the Renaissance. This Sunday, May 23, Música Antigua de Albuquerque, our city's premiere interpreter of antique music will present a concert of sacred and secular music by this distinguished master. As always, the compositions will be performed on period instruments. The show begins at 4:30 p.m. at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal (601 Montaño NW). $15 general, $12 seniors, $8 students. 842-9613.
Contemporary Arts in the Public Realm at the National Hispanic Cultural Center and 516 Magnífico Artspace
A couple months ago, a few Albuquerque city councilors and their supporters made a big stink about a sculpture consisting of two giant neon green cones that the city planned to install at the Louisiana and I-40 interchange. Whether you side with the complainers or with Tom Waldron, the project's designer, it's nice to see people get worked up over art for a change. It's the kind of conflict we don't see often enough in Albuquerque. Everyone should care about public art in our city, and we should all be willing to air our own views in public.
As the mercury rises, my yen for sugar seem to skyrocket right along with it. Heat has an alchemical ability to thaw things. In my case, high temperatures unearth a potent blend of desire and memory, awakened by the sweet tastes of summer. The hottest part of my afternoon induces fantasies about bionicos; impossibly fresh chunks of fruit topped with thick, sweet cream, shredded coconut and granola. I used to get them in Los Angeles because they reminded me of home (despite the fact that I have yet to actually eat one here). They were simple but luxurious little packages, improved only by a front porch and friends. The last 20 minutes before sunset is synonymous with my first taste of agua fresca; the summer festival where I sneaked eyefuls of an enormous glass jar filled with real watermelon juice, its big black seeds bobbing seductively up and down. I remember the hollow echo of ice and metal colliding inside as the pink liquid was scooped out and plunked into my plastic cup. It wasn't at all what I expected. Its texture was thin rather than syrupy, its sweetness mild and clean, and slightly soapy. And now dusk is for the paleta man. Every evening, sandwiched between sunset and the last drop of daylight, I can hear the bell of his pushcart moving through my neighborhood. I have to be quick to catch him, though. He's a bit of a ghost.
You won't even recognize the place. Fourth Street Café's transformation into Ralli's is complete and the Downtown restaurant is open for business again. Ralli's (the name is pronounced like Rally's) looks absolutely nothing like the dated, cramped coffee shop that used to take up an unassuming spot on the Fourth Street Mall. Gone are the carpeting, mismatched furniture and bad pastel color scheme, replaced by dark, glossy wood on the floors, tables and bar. Forest green upholstery and accents make Ralli's look like the classy pub it hopes to be. The menu hasn't changed much, though. Ralli's is still serving breakfast and lunch much the same as they always have. Diner standards like omelets, club sandwiches and chicken salads remain the same. The dinner menu is similar to lunch with the addition of bar-food favorites like fried mozzarella sticks and the place is now open from 6 to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday, until midnight on Sunday.
A cook and caterer from Pojoaque brings an updated concept to the old Tito's Tavern
Tito's Tavern has been a fixture on the corner of Fourth Street and Menaul Blvd. since the beginning of time (or thereabouts), so when a sign went up announcing a new sandwich shop called Wrap it Up, people noticed. I caught up with Angel Vigil just after a lunch rush. She was out of breath but happy to talk about the new venture.
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.
Your Killer Tan is a Killer
Let me begin by addressing my mostly naked friend Don Schrader who is bound to write a letter in refute of this column: Don, a tan is not healthy. In medical terms, a tan is the result of the body's largest organ—the skin—attempting to protect itself from the sun's ultraviolet rays by producing more pigment. A tan—no matter how light or dark—therefore, indicates skin damage. Period.
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.
APD officers use patrol cars for off-duty errands
The Albuquerque Police Department offers a special perk to recruit and retain its officers—the use of patrol cars to drive to and from work, free gasoline, insurance and loose regulations outlining what personal errands the cars can be used for.
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.
Down is up in the Duke City
"Far off in outer space exists the strangest, wackiest planet in the universe ... it is the square Bizarro World!" So began an edition of a Superman comic book that had the Man of Steel trapped in another dimension where everything was weirdly skewed, perversely inverted. Down was up, ugly was beautiful, left was right and bad was good. Increasingly, the political climate in the Duke City is looking more and more like Bizarro World. Low-wage jobs are touted as high-tech economic growth, fringe development beyond the city's boundaries is labeled "in-fill" and elected officials benefiting from a host of taxpayer goodies is simply good government. While that's bad for Albuquerque, it does make for some pretty easy political commentary.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., laments today's corporate crony capitalism
The Natural Resources Defense Council is not your garden-variety environmental organization. Meaning, the organization isn't just working to inform the public about the usually dreadful direction our natural world is headed thanks to tons of pollution we humans create every year. NRDC, by their website's own account, is in fact "the nation's most effective environmental action organization." The imperative word here is action, as in legal action. Last week, one of the organization's most famous lawyers, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., spoke to an exuberant crowd of supporters at the National Hispanic Cultural Center lamenting our current state of environmental affairs. Afterward, the Alibi sat down with Mr. Kennedy to get his opinion on the way environmental policy works these days.
Charter schools and APS find common ground
Last month's newspaper headlines about dropout rates at Albuquerque Public Schools going down are good news. The drop out problem, however, is not an issue that can be retired and forever be done with. Continuously responding to it has to become part of our expectations for our public schools.
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.
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!
An old hand in the kitchen is a new face at this Italian favorite
The last time I ate at La Piazza I was surprised to see the owner and Executive Chef, Gordon Schutte, on the line, cooking up a storm. Normally, seeing a chef in his own kitchen shouldn't be a surprise but Schutte is also the owner of Vivace in Nob Hill and the ringleader of Albuquerque Originals, an association of local restaurateurs. Was he waiting for just the right person to show up and give him time for a coffee break? Rochelle Woollard, who started at La Piazza three months ago, seems to be that person.
Keep them out of your hair while they learn to earn their keep
You know you've finally become a grown-up when you start thinking that year-round schools with uniforms sound pretty good. Summer vacations are what kids live for but they can be a real nightmare for the working parents who are forced to choose between forking out serious cash for sleep-away camps or letting their kids "self-supervise." In case you don't remember or were never lucky enough to "self-supervise," this is an educational program that involves older neighborhood kids teaching your kids how to find, peruse and replace Dad's Penthouse collection without detection, how to suck all the nitrous oxide out of a can of whipped cream and how to best torture siblings while leaving a minimum of bruising.
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.
Russian parable travels dark road with fathers, sons, fears
OK, so you're never going to remember a name like Andrei Zvyagintsev. But, with his first feature film outing, the Russian director makes a bold mark for himself on the international film scene. A stylistic throwback to the Soviet Union's long and proud cinematic history as well as a bold, accessible new direction for the lagging Russian film industry, The Return is a gripping fable about abandonment, sacrifice and the deep-seeded need for every child to star in his very own version of Oedipus.
Campy monster bash should have Bram Stoker, et al. rolling over in their graves
Hopefully, Van Helsing is the stupidest movie of the year. If not, we're in for a long, dumb summer.
“Rocked with Gina Gershon” on IFC
The fact that Gina Gershon starred in the Hollywood howler Showgirls, and yet has gone on to become an indie-cool sex symbol for discriminating teenage bad boys and hopeful middle-aged lesbians is the surest sign of her tough chick charm. Never ones to pass up an indie icon, the Independent Film Channel recently drafted Gershon to star in her very own reality series.
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.
with Sekiden, Leiahdorus and Brixton Ex
Thursday, May 13; Launchpad (21 and over, 9 p.m.): An undeclared, unspoken '80s-style electropop revival is taking place thanks to the Lovemakers—yet another fashionable band born and bred in the Big Apple. The band, which in the past was much more polished, has taken an evolutionary step backwards in its songwriting.
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.
Bat Boy at the Ana Chavira Theatre
No, he can't see through walls. He can't leap tall buildings in a single bound. He doesn't even wear a cape or brightly colored leotards. The famous Bat Boy is more super freak than super hero.
Harwood Art Center
Artist Edie Tsong has hauled all her personal stuff, including books, clothes, toiletries and teddy bear, into the Harwood Art Center for Territory/American Frontier, a performance and installation in which she will use her belongings as building blocks to make different constructions. Tsong will visit the gallery every day with the final outcome of the show determined in part by interaction with viewers. A reception for Territory/American Frontier, and other exhibits featuring art by Jimmy Pontzer, Karen Mazur, Nick Tauro, Jr., Granny Jean Markin and Marian Berg, will be held on Friday, May 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. Runs through May 27. 242-6367.
For the last several weeks, santero Arturo Olivas has instructed nine Working Classroom students in the traditional techniques of retablo art. Using these techniques, the students created a series of icons representing the new American trinity of consumerism, utilitarianism and militarism. A show of this work, curated by Tey Nunn of the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, will open at Visiones Gallery on Friday, May 14, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Runs through July 16. For details, call 242-9267.