The 2004 Democratic National Convention may have been more scripted, micromanaged and shrink-wrapped than ever before, but at least you could find media coverage that was refreshingly unpandering. For the first time, one-man-sapper crews of bloggers were welcome on the convention floor, undermining the sterile, party-approved packaging to present their subjective view of the events.
Dateline: England—An inmate, upset at conditions in his new minimum security prison, escaped and walked 63 miles back to his old prison. According to The Sun, reformed junkie Paul Parry left the Prescoed prison near Usk, Monmouthshire, and walked for some 30 hours to his old jail in Swansea where prison officers found him knocking on the door begging to be let in. Parry was sentenced to five and a half years in 2002 for smuggling heroin in Wales. A tough anti-drug program at Swansea is credited with helping Parry kick the drug habit. The newly reformed Parry was recently transferred to Prescoed, a halfway house where prisoners have keys to their own cells. Parry's girlfriend told The Sun that the new facility is rife with drugs and that Parry feared he'd slip back into his old habits. A prison panel is deciding now whether Parry can serve out the rest of his term in Swansea.
Political Docs A-plenty—The New Mexico Media Literacy Program is bringing filmmaker Sut Jhally to Albuquerque on Thursday, Aug. 5, to premiere his documentary Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of the American Empire. The film examines how a radical fringe element of the Republican party used the trauma of the 9-11 hijackings to further their pre-existing agenda. The San Francisco Chronicle called the film “sober, yet ultimately uplifting.” The screening will take place at 7 p.m. on the campus of Albuquerque Academy in Simms Auditorium. Jhally, a professor of communication at UMASS and the executive director of the Media Education Foundation, will stick around after the screening for a Q&A with audience members. This event is free and open to the public. Log on to www.mediaed.org for more info.
I never thought I'd think or write this, but former Toadies' and current Burden Brothers' frontman Todd (a.k.a “Vaden”) Lewis is a prima donna, crybaby, wannabe-rockstar prick. Upset because his band received three, not four, cases of Miller Lite (despite the fact that three cases were contractually agreed upon) and a bartender at the Launchpad who didn't instantly recognize him (who the fuck do you think you are, Sting?) attempted to do his job and charge $5 for a shot, Lewis extracted his revenge by insulting the Launchpad management and staff from the stage. Nice work ... for a 14-year-old. Anyway, I urge you not to buy the Burden Brothers' debut release, even though it rocks. If you really want it, I'll be happy to oblige all requests to burn copies of the disc. ... In “back From the Dead” news, the original Starsky has reformed, featuring guitarist/singer Jason Ward, bassist Wade XXX and drummer Chris Partain. The reformed Starsky will debut Friday, Aug. 13 at the Launchpad and are on-tap for Weekly Alibi Fall Crawl 2004 on Saturday, Aug. 28. And they will probably sound nothing like Pavement. ... In “Gone But Not Forgotten” news, former Drift frontman and one the best rock singers Albuquerque has ever seen, Marty York, is back on the scene with a new band. York and Black Cowboy will debut at Club Rhythm & Blues on Wednesday, Aug. 25.
It's hard to believe, considering the phenomenal level of talent Outpost Productions brings to Albuquerque—99.9 percent of the top jazz talent in the world—that the organization only conducts one fundraising event each year. It's truly one of those rare cases of getting way more than you pay for.
This year's headliner, though not yet a household name, is well on his way to graduating from Young Liondom into the elite class of saxophonists occupied by Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and others synonymous with jazz music's sexiest brass instrument. As evidenced on his latest recording, Lift: Live at the Village Vanguard (Universal), Potter has established himself as one of the most important creative voices in the jazz world. Having cut his teeth as a sideman with Red Rodney, the Mingus Big Band and other notables, Potter has become increasingly more comfortable and powerful as a leader. Better than half the compositions on Lift are of Potter's own creation, but there's a seamless quality between his original works and tunes by Bill Stewart, Ned Washington and Mingus that speaks volumes to the 33-year-old's stature among his peers.
Why Sweden's Hives keep getting compared to The Ramones by critics far and wide is beyond me. For one thing, The Ramones were at least half-serious about what they were doing, whereas The Hives have chosen a path that's 98.6 percent schtick. And that's fine, just as long as they intend their second album to be their last. It takes 30 minutes to get through the dozen songs included here and far less time to forget what you just heard. The collection of tunes isn't bad, but it's sure as hell no Rocket to Russia. Here today, gone tomorrow.
Are you a great lover of literature? Do you have a special fondness for mysteries set in the Southwest? Or are you just a pompous egomaniac?
Today marks the first time I've ever had a waiter tell me the special was "fucking great." Actually, come to think of it, I know a lot of waiters and it's entirely possible that one of them, at one time or another, may have described a dish to me as "fucking great," but I didn't know this guy at all. Probably he just forgot for a minute that he was at work and that he was supposed to be acting like a grownup. So for a brief minute he spoke to us totally honestly. Would we have believed him as completely if he had described the dish as “excellent”? Probably not. My dining companion and I appreciated his enthusiasm. Why waste time being offended? He was just being sincere. Plus, he was right; the special was fucking great.
Several readers have written in to recommend Geo's in Rio Rancho (3301 Southern, 891-4800). The owner, George Menza, is an Oregon native who spent some time cooking in New Orleans before moving to New Mexico. In a story that is familiar to many non-native New Mexicans, Menza was driving from Virginia to Oregon when he stopped in Albuquerque last year. After three days he knew this was the place for him. Menza bought a house and went back to Oregon to pack up his things. Geo's is a lunch and dinner joint that serves what Chef Menza describes as European food. I said, so does that mean not old fashioned but old school? Yes, he said. Imagine a menu full of Veal Oscar, lamb chops and classic dishes flavored richly with fresh herbs. That's what I imagined as Menza described his food. His Oregon restaurant had been called Hot Off the Brick and drew heavily from the Italian tradition. Out in Rio Rancho, Geo's resides in a shopping center that is also home to a Pasta Café, a situation that prevents Menza from doing too much Italian food. No matter. He's recently made up a new dish: Chicken Imperial, a chicken breast topped with sautéed ham, cremini mushrooms and onions, asparagus and Hollandaise. Mmmm, Hollandaise.