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
Twelve months of events in Albuquerque and the surrounding area
If you're a Burque newbie, don't be alarmed by bitter, naysaying locals who trumpet on and on about how little there is to do in this town you chose to set up shop in. Fact is, they're all flat-out wrong. As proof, we present our Weekly Alibi Annual Survival Calendar, highlighting the events and various goings on we think you might just be interested in checking out and/or participating in over the next 12 months.
Live music club guide
Let's just get something straight here: This is not a bar guide. If you're looking to drown your sorrows in a neighborly booze hole, we suggest a quick browse through a telephone directory. Swill beer, pump quarters into the jukebox and wipe your tears with a Yellow Page for all we care. This little guide is a live music locator. It's an odd assortment of restaurants, clubs, coffeehouses and other performance spaces where one so inclined can enjoy live music-based entertainment or a reasonable facsimile thereof. So whether you get down to Paul Simon or Skinny Puppy, you're bound to find the music you crave at one of these local venues.
All the Phone Numbers You'll Ever Need and More!
Here's the handiest list of phone numbers you'll ever own. When available, TTY and TTD numbers and e-mail and World Wide Web addresses are listed just to make your life easier. As with all things related to city, county, state and federal government, the contact information listed below is subject to change without notice. And don't be shocked if you're forced to wade through endless voicemail menus to get to a human being. We can only do so much.
... but not necessarily more affordable
Most people say that the only certainties in life are death and taxes, but if you want to drive, you will also have to make a few inevitable (and oh so thrilling) treks to the MVD. While the trip to wait hours in line for yet another unflattering license picture can seem daunting, the Alibi is here to guide you through the MVD process. It is sometimes quicker to visit one of four MVD Express locations. This private company offers basic services (licenses, titles, and registrations) and promises to have you in and out in less than 15 minutes. Unfortunately, you also have to pay extra for the quick service, bringing the usual $16 fee for a four-year driver license to just over 30 bucks and a one-year registration ($25 at MVD) to $40. Senior citizens (75 and older), who must renew their driver licenses every year, get a bit of a break at $7.95 each (this service is free at the main MVD). Go to www.mvdexpress.com for more information.
What to do when you get ripped off
It is everyone's worst nightmare: You are sitting quite peacefully, enjoying your tiki cocktail at Burt's and some fine conversation, when you turn around to notice that your purse/wallet/first born child is gone. It is easy to scoff and say that you'll never be the victim of theft, but it is time to face the fact that Albuquerque is full of sticky-fingered misfits, and you just might be the next victim. This year, Weekly Alibi's Survival Guide takes on the issue of looting by answering some pressing questions about getting screwed by a pickpocket.
Free Internet wireless hot spots
Albuquerque International Sunport/Airport
2200 Sunport SE
Albuquerque Civic Plaza
One Civic Plaza NW
Albuquerque Aquarium and Botanical Garden
2601 Central NW
Because this is the Survival Guide, it can only mean that it's also that time of the year again. Yes, the time when one lucky intern gets the chance of a lifetime. He or she gets the rare privilege to traipse across town exploring the ins and outs of Albuquerque's many grocery stores for the annual Grocery Store Browser, using stealth and cunning to jot down prices and compare shallot freshness. It's an exciting task.
Just think, there are roughly 40 million citizens in America unable to afford health insurance. Meanwhile, if you fall into this category and have a job, your income taxes help provide the finest health care money can buy for members of Congress. So if you are uninsured and stressed out by the prospect of some unforeseen physical tragedy befalling you or your family and wrecking your finances forever, think about those public servants in Washington, D.C. who get a free ride, on your tax dollars, when they visit the doctor.
Making Bank with Your Body
There are several relatively lucrative ways to sell your body without ending up handcuffed in the back of a patrol car at one o'clock in the morning, screaming for your mama. Even if you've got no education and no marketable skills, you can still make a few bucks here and there by selling yourself—all perfectly legal, I assure you.
Recycling in Albuquerque
Despite our reputation for clean air, clean water and good clean fun, Albuquerque can be a pretty dirty place. When it comes to generating solid waste, our fair town is no better than the next city. The average resident throws away roughly five pounds of trash per day. That same resident dumps as much as one ton of garbage per year (that's the weight of a baby elephant, if you need a visual aid). The city itself generates more than 1,500 tons of trash each day, an increase from 1,100 tons in the early '90s. Clearly, our reputation (or our landfill) isn't as sparkling as we'd like to think.
Turning CDs, DVDs, video games and books into cold, hard cash
Everyone falls on hard times, and that's when the following businesses come in handy. You've gotta eat, right? Well, gather up those books you've read three or four times, the CDs that are gathering dust on the shelf and the porn DVDs your significant other doesn't even know you own and turn them into cash. It might be difficult to part with some of your stuff, but you'll feel better after you've had something to eat.
Here's all you need to know in order to make it in New Mexico: You have to love chile. New Mexicans are far, far too gracious to threaten to kick you out of the state, but they will stare at you as if you're insane when you ask for your breakfast burrito with no chile. They'll wonder if you're an alien in Albuquerque via Roswell when you respond to the state question, (“Red or green?”) with: “What's the difference?” They might even get seriously peeved when you say you just don't understand what the big deal is. Here's the thing, if you've just moved here from Minneapolis, we'll understand if you don't know a green chile from a bell pepper and we'll only tease you mildly when you break out in an all-over body sweat and tears stream from your eyes. Just remember: You'll get used to it sooner or later.
Eee, it's time for chiles, no?! Yes, it is that time of year when motorists cut across three lanes of oncoming traffic to pull to a screeching halt in front of some guy parked in a dirt lot with a truck and a roaster. Southern New Mexico's chile harvest usually begins around the end of July but according to Dr. Paul Bosland, a horticulture professor and director of the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University, the middle of the season is the perfect time to buy chiles. Early season fruits tend to be thin-walled and less flavorful, he says. These immature chiles often have less flavor than the thicker, heavier pods of midseason fruit.
The Chile Pepper Institute answers your most frequently asked questions
Are fish able to feel the heat from chiles?
No, fish do not have the pain receptors (like birds), that mammals have allowing them to feel the heat. Many species of fish, like koi and other colorful fish, are feed food with chile in it to keep their colors bright.
What is a "New Mexico Green Chile?"
The Alibi's small but gratuitous guide
This is just a guide, not a set of hard and fast rules. Use your best judgment.
Ye Olde Sit-down Restaurants. The federal minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13 per hour—not much. Standard tip for seated fare is 15 to 20 percent of the total bill, but you should feel free to tip more if the service is exceptional. If you have a problem with the food or the service, don't wait until your meal is over to show your dissatisfaction by stiffing the waiter. Instead, ask to speak with a manager or owner and give the restaurant the opportunity to make you happy before you leave. If you feel your server is fully responsible for your unpleasant experience and you've spoken with the management, then your tip (or lack thereof) can reflect your displeasure.
A private firm with GOP ties brings workers to New Mexico to gather signatures for independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader
Last week, folks passing by the UNM campus near Popejoy Hall had a chance to support Ralph Nader for president and register to vote at the same time, thanks to the hard working efforts of two women. To be sure, their purpose was colored in patriotism. Small, novelty store American flags were taped to nearby lamp posts and the card table that served as their base of operation sported a stars and stripes table cloth.
When President Bush arrived in Albuquerque last week to host a group of supporters near the Sunport, it marked the 13th such campaign forum this year, equaling the number of solo news conferences he has had in three and a half years in the White House.
Flushing tax dollars down the cosmic toilet
The Bernalillo County Commission is facing a major financial crunch brought on by the spiffy new jail on the outskirts of town. The facility has been in operation for scarcely one year, yet is bulging at the seams, its capacity of 2,500 inmates (a 1,000 more than the old jail's) already reached.
From Burque to the White House, winners and losers stand out among us
Florida faced the double whammy of dual hurricanes; New Jersey's governor announced “I'm gay and I quit;” the mayor of Las Vegas, Nev., confessed to putting tourism interests ahead of terrorist threats and national celebrities Bill Richardson and Arnold Schwarzenegger (who, in their spare time, serve as the governors of New Mexico and California respectively) hung out together in the City Different talking about "the Border." But before it all fades away in the review mirror of our collective consciousness, the following are some random thoughts on the "winners" and "losers" of the week that was.
Dateline: England—In what can only be described as a freak accident, a flaming rabbit has burned down part of the 150-year-old Devizies Cricket Club. The rabbit was apparently hiding in a bundle of branches two groundskeepers set alight. The workers saw the rabbit escape, trailing its burning tail after it. Thirty minutes later, the club's mantainance shed was on fire. Despite the best efforts of 11 firefighters, they were unable to salvage the shed or what it contained. The club estimated that the unfortunate rabbit caused nearly $90,000 in damage. “We're 99 percent confident it was the rabbit that caused the fire,” said Devizies fire station commander Philip Flowers. “It was either burnt to a cinder or it escaped through a small hole in the corner of the shed. But I imagine it perished and went to bunny heaven.” Flowers added that, in over 20 years of service, he had never before fought a blaze caused by a burning animal.
More “Stink”—The stink is back by popular demand! Thanks to those four incredible sold-out screenings the other weekend, the Guild Cinema in Nob Hill has decided to resurrect local zombie flick The Stink of Flesh for a special one-night only encore. On midnight, Saturday, Aug. 21, the film will be screened for all those Flesh-hungry zombies who didn't get a seat at the last go-around. This one will probably sell out as well, so get your tickets early.
Unpredictable hack-and-slash is bloody entertaining
Asian action purists who've absorbed a majority of actor Shintarô Katsu's 26 legendary Zatôichi films (a role he played from 1962 to 1989) will probably find filmmaker Takeshi Kitano's recent pop culture-puréed remake a bit too revisionist. In Japan, where Zatoichi is a movie icon on par with James Bond, that's a big deal. Here in America, where you'd be lucky to find one in 50,000 people who've ever even heard of Zatoichi, it's probably not such a major consideration.
directing debut is is not your garden variety comedy
But what I really want to do is direct: It's been a lament uttered by overly ambitious actors since the dawn of the motion picture era. Charlie Chaplin did it. Orson Welles did it. Mel Gibson did it. Now Zach Braff, star of NBC's hit comedy "Scrubs," is stepping behind the camera for his multi-hyphenate debut, the indie comedy Garden State.
Television tidbits from around the Dial
Green With Envy?--Immigrants rights groups are protesting the new TV series “Gana La Verde” (“Win the Green”), a “Fear Factor”-inspired reality show contest which claims to give out free green cards to Mexican immigrants wishing to enter the United States. Actually, the show only offers a year's worth of free legal advice to each weekly winner. Still, the groups feel that having contestants sleep with snakes, fend off deadly guard dogs and jump between speeding semis presents a “false impression of how the immigration process works.” Despite (or more likely because of) the controversy, the show is currently ranked number two among 19 to 49-year-olds. The show only airs on Spanish language stations in Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas and Houston. Twenty episodes have aired so far, and several contestants are described by the show's producers as “close” to getting their green cards.
The Week in Sloth
Things are rolling along quite well for local bands these days. Nels Andrews and El Paso Eyepatch have struck a record deal with Bloodshot and Checkered Past Records founder Eric Babcock for the release of their latest record, Sunday Shoes, on Babcock's Catamount label, and they've been selected to appear at the Americana Music Awards Showcase in Nashville next month, Sept. 23-25. After their appearance at the AMA Showcase, they'll be back in town for their local CD release party at the Launchpad on Friday, Oct. 1. After that, it's off to Europe for a tour throughout Scotland, Ireland and England. ... As mentioned this week in Devin D. O'Leary's review of Garden State (page 61), the Sundance sensation starring Natalie Portman and Zach Braff, The Shins are featured prominently on the film's soundtrack. Braff, who wrote and directed the film, is a self-proclaimed Shins freak, and included “New Slang” and “Caring is Creepy”—both from The Shins' Sub Pop debut, Oh, Inverted World—in the film. Braff had originally approached lead Shin James Mercer about writing a song specifically for his movie, but touring and other commitments prevented it. Since the release of the movie, both Shins' Sub Pop releases, Oh, Inverted World and Chutes Too Narrow, have re-entered Amazon.com's Top 100 in sales. Mercer has also been asked to write and record a song for the upcoming SpongeBob SquarePants movie, due out later this year.
Think the expansive vision of Kronos, the freshness of youth, and an unusual complement of instruments. Note that their name derives from Wallace Stevens' enigmatic poem "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird." Add the specifics—Molly Alicia Barth, flutes; Michael J. Maccaferri, clarinets; Matt Albert, violin & viola; Nicholas Photinos, cello; Matthew Duvall, percussion; and Lisa Kaplan, piano—and you have Eighth Blackbird, one of the most exciting contemporary music ensembles on today's scene.
Thursday, Aug. 26; Pulse Nightclub (21 and over, 9 p.m.): DJ Kentifyr (a.k.a. Kent R. Wilhelmi) has been a staple at Pulse Nightclub for four years, during which he's served as a resident DJ and promoter—as founder and proprietor of Dark Beat Productions—of most of the gothic-industrial bands that have come through in that time.
Once, playing the Velvet Underground's "After Hours," on my boom box, my uncle asked me if I had recorded myself singing. It wasn't a compliment: Mo Tucker sang so girlishly off-key that he simply thought I'd made a bad recording of my own bad voice. But I liked the way she sounded. The vulnerability in her voice matched the yearning of the song. In a similar way, there's something endearing about Ben Kweller's voice. He's got to be in his early 20s but he sounds like a teenager when he sings; his voice is tentative and almost cracking until he bursts into a shouting chorus. Especially on the title track, "On My Way," when Ben sings to his mom, "I'll kill him with karate that I learned in Japan," you picture a gawky kid something like the main character in Napoleon Dynamite. Pretty and simple, just Kweller and a guitar, could it have been recorded at a coffeehouse open mic night?
Mesmerizing Eastern European vocal music from a Berkeley based ensemble? Absolutely. Kitka was founded in 1979 by women who wished to share their passion for the "stunning dissonances, asymmetric rhythms, intricate ornamentation, lush harmonies, and resonant strength of Eastern European women's vocal music." The ensemble has since become recognized as the foremost exponent of Balkan and Slavic choral repertoire in the U.S.
Morrissey's latest effort is a slap in the face for those with a utopian view of the world. The album combines beautiful melodies and dark lyrics. With songs like "America is not the World," "Irish Blood English Heart," and "I Have forgiven Jesus," Morrissey, formerly of the Smiths fame, proves his love and disdain for society. Longtime fans will love this album. Newcomers who are into political bands and Sylvia Plath poems, this one's for you. Gut wrenching and enjoyable at the same time, I can't stop listening to it.
A new series of paintings by Angus Macpherson almost leaves a cool layer of mist on your bare skin. The hazy effect Macpherson achieves in this ephemeral, atmospheric work was inspired by his one-year stint in the Belgian city of Antwerp in the mid '90s, a region noted for having at least as much moisture in its air as it has in its lakes.
Troika at the Adobe Theater
In Russian, the word troika means a group of three. I'm told the term is often associated with a Russian sleigh drawn by three horses. For this reason, the Adobe Theater is currently running Troika, a performance of four one-act farces by Anton Chekhov. Despite the misnomer, director John Puddington and his able cast offer an enjoyable evening of clever comedy.
A junior high school band teacher once told poet Joy Harjo that "girls can't play saxophone." Nothing like a little unintentional reverse psychology to get the creative juices flowing. Harjo has been playing sax ever since. A release party for her first solo CD, Native Joy for Real, occurs Sunday, Aug. 22, at 3 p.m. at Bookworks. The album blends indigenous sounds with rock, jazz, blues and hip hop. Stop by to say hello to one of the Southwest's most accomplished poets and musicians, and pick up a copy of her CD on your way out. 344-8139.
Acrylic paint is a miraculous substance that, unlike oil paint, can be fairly easily separated from the support on which it dried. Margi Weir uses this quality in her abstract constructions, hanging or pinning independent bits of acrylic paint on to an already painted canvas. This results in the astonishing three-dimensional paintings on display at an exhibit opening this Friday, Aug. 20, with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Inpost Artspace (located inside the Outpost at 210 Yale SE). The show runs through Oct. 8. 268-0044.
Private companies reap profits from federal contracts
Jeffrey Jones knows how to fuel a war. As the director of the Pentagon's Defense Energy Support Center, he traveled the Persian Gulf in the months before Operation Iraqi Freedom to connect with suppliers for the U.S. military's ships, tanks and planes. When U.S. forces invaded Iraq, he used several hundred federal employees to keep the fuel lines running to troops in dozens of countries. "We go direct," says Jones. "We have no one in between."
FBI has long track record of hostility toward internal complaints
Yet again, the strong arm of the federal government has come under attack from within. After the 9-11 Commission's report criticized the Federal Bureau of Investigation for continued failings in antiterrorism efforts arising from "gaps between some of the announced reforms and the reality of the field" (in the words of the report), another former agent has stepped forward to expand the litany of criticisms.
The press loves statistics because they give a story the patina of fact, of being based on firm and undeniable proof. But as last week's frenzied and contradictory media coverage of Kerry's anticipated "bounce" in the polls showed, there is always more than one way to read the numbers.
From the beginning, Paseo has been about only one thing
It's a long story, but in the mid-'80s I found myself at a Bastille Day party in the Rio Puerco Valley. We were 15 miles beyond the western edge of town, in the unused headquarters of a worn-out ranch. I found myself talking to a real estate agent, whose eyes shone as he explained how the valley would fill with suburban neighborhoods. The key to his dream was a good road, which he predicted would soon be built. The road's name was the Northwest Loop. When the road came, the ranch would be transformed from isolated range land to prime real estate.
After a month's vacation, city councilors returned on Aug. 2 and ripped through legislation like a squad of superheroes. Crying “One for All and All for One,” they passed every bill unanimously.
Once again, the president is full of baloney
Every time I hear George W. Bush brag about turning around the economy I do a double take. What are you talking about? I see pitiful little evidence of an economic recovery going on, no matter how many ads our president buys to try to convince us of the contrary.
Face facts, Dems: Kerry is a crappy candidate
Anyone with any lingering doubts that John Kerry's lackluster acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention had practically no impact on the race for the White House need only look to the polls.
Dateline: Poland—Police in the Baltic port city of Gdansk are searching for the thief, or more likely thieves, responsible for stealing a 400-ton bridge. A Gdansk construction company had stored and forgotten the disassembled bridge in a local warehouse. According to Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza the bridge was discovered missing during a recent inventory of the storage unit. Police believe a gang of scrap metal thieves made off with the bridge in bits and pieces over the course of several months. An insurance claim made by the construction company estimates the bridge is worth nearly two million zloty ($500,000).
Funkmeister and reportedly rehabilitated misogynist/crackhead Rick James died last Friday, Aug. 6, at his California home of what were still being called at press time, “natural causes.” Given the 56-year-old's history of drug abuse and fast living, however, the likelihood of the coroner's report not undergoing any revisions before all is said and done seems pretty slim. So as not to sound like a completely insensitive asshole, James' 1981 hit “Super Freak” is my favorite song to perform at bowling alley karaoke. ... The bad news is that Santa Fe's premier bluegrass trio, Mary & Mars have broken up. The good news is that former M&M mandolinist/vocalist Sharon Gilchrist will appear Sunday, Aug. 15, at the Adobe Bar in the Taos Inn with Chipper Thompson from 7 to 10 p.m. as part of Zoukfest 2004. Call (505) 751-3512 or e-mail email@example.com for more information. ... With the recent demise of several local clubs, it warms my ever-blackening heart to report news of a new club slated to open in Burque next month geared especially for the under-21 set. The Light Club (2518 Eubank NE) is scheduled to open Saturday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m., and the third Saturday of every month thereafter. The drug- and alcohol-free club will feature live DJs, exceptional laser and light shows, an Internet café, video arcade featuring Xbox, Playstation 2 and GameCube play and plenty of food, snacks, soft drinks and coffee. Opening night DJs include Santa Fe's Flobug spinning techno and electro, along with Albuquerque DJs Sebastian (hard techno) and Bowra (tech trance). For more details, contact DJ Lorraine at 298-5636.
Just less than a year ago, legendary jazz producer Joel Dorn joined forces with T.S. Monk, the only son of peerless pianist Thelonious Monk, to embark on an incredible and most satisfying journey: to present to the public—for the first time in most cases—“lost,” out-of-print and otherwise unheralded recordings featuring the elder Monk, including bootlegs and other intimacies. Their first release together was Monk in Paris: Live at the Olympia, a wondrous single-strand concert affair.
with Il Niño
Wednesday, Aug. 18; Sunshine Theater (all ages, 8 p.m.): Prophecy is not my favorite Soulfly album, but no one can deny that Max Cavalera continues to push the boundaries of metal as hard and as relentlessly as any other artist in the game. Cavalera, who established himself as a powerful musical force with Sepultura before creating Soulfly, is an expert in harnessing the spiritual thunder of tribal music and Latin influences, and shackling them to knee-weakening metal arrangements. The results are complex—classic thrash giving way to hardcore, tinged with everything from flamenco and Moroccan aesthetics to, in the case of Prophecy, Serbian folk music. But regardless of the different sounds he chooses to use in a given song, Cavalera always makes a point of pouring down your throat in molten form. You always know what you're going to get from Soulfly—stunning unpredictability.
with The Bellmont and Tanuki
Sunday, Aug. 15; Atomic Cantina (21 and over, 9 p.m.): Not to be confused with Philly-based alt.rockers Graze, The Graze is Seattle songwriter and Rosyvelt member Louis O'Callaghan's solo project. His debut, Iowa Anvil (J-shirt Records) is one of the most promising indie rock releases since Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea and one of the most inspired since Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Whether or not O'Callaghan will make his Albuquerque appearance with a band in-tow (as on the record) or as a lone gunman isn't made clear by the press release, but it's not of much consequence, either. O'Callaghan's songs speak for themselves and are likely to send chills crawling up your spine regardless of personnel or instrumentation. Between the Nirvana-like smolder of his melodies and Modest Mouse-like guitar figures, O'Callaghan—who counts among his influences The Shins—is primed to pick up right where Elliott Smith left off.
For a record that's being roundly heralded as his most brilliant work yet, David Byrne sounds, well, supremely bored on Grown Backwards. Even more string-heavy than Look Into the Eyeball, there are some gorgeous moments here and the sort of genius-level lyricism we've come to expect. The problem is his handling of the material. Instead of inspired-if-morose delivery a la Magnetic Fields' Stephen Merritt, we're left with a sort of “Hmm, maybe I'll record something today ... after morning tea” tone that, with a few notable exceptions (“Dialog Box,” “Tiny Apocalypse”), does little to convince us to keep listening to him.
Freedom Film—The traveling Freedom Film Festival will be making a stop in Albuquerque Aug. 13, 14 and 15. The Hiland Theatre (4804 Central SE) will host four films from the Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía including the political thriller Francisca (Sat. 2 p.m.), the drama Ciudades Oscuras (Sat. 4 p.m.), the political drama Pachito Rex (Sun. 2 p.m.) and the comedy Las Caras de la Luna (Sun. 4 p.m.). All four have English subtitles and tickets are a mere $3.50. Assets Grille & Brewing Company (6910 Montgomery NE), meanwhile, will screen a couple cool indie films on an outdoor screen. Films featured there will be the British sports comedy Blackball (Fri. 9 p.m.) and the Scottish/American crime comedy American Cousins (Sat. 9 p.m.). Tickets for the Assets screenings are $5. For more info, log on to www.freedomfilmfest.com
Cruise finds himself outfoxxed in director Michael Mann's new “hack” job
After several years of panning for Oscar gold (Ali, The Insider, The Last of the Mohicans), director Michael Mann returns to his crime film roots (Thief, Manhunter, “Miami Vice”) with the intimate adult thriller Collateral.
Two teens are coming to America in culture shock doc
Lost Boys of Sudan is something of a novelty. It represents the first occasion, perhaps in months, on which a self-proclaimed “documentary” has indeed turned out to be what it claims. Finally, after a summer of supercilious arm-twisting, we are graced with the arrival of a modest, elegant, humane little documentary--one that, in all solemnity, achieves a weight of relevance that seemed to be missing from the rest (Fahrenheit 9/11, Supersize Me, The Corporation, etc.). Perhaps this is due to Lost Boys' reliance on observation, when everyone else is adamant about providing “facts.” Instead of forcing guilt on the audience's conscience, the film allows us the opportunity of discovery--or, more specifically, the feeling of discovery, of being there first. And that is the most beguiling of all the pleasures found in documentary-viewing.
“XXVIII Summer Olympics”
The 2004 Summer Olympics represent a rare opportunity for Americans to prove that, not only are we ready, willing and able to bomb any county on Earth to Kingdom Come, but we're also fully capable of kicking their asses in most of the sports we invented.
The Week in Sloth
Transform your mangy pooch into an international doggy superstar! ABQdog.com announces its fourth annual Dogs for All Seasons photo contest. Even if there isn't much chance your hound will ever become an anorexic, globe-trotting, caviar-chowing, canine supermodel, at least the contest is for a good cause. It costs a mere $5 to enter with every penny of the proceeds benefiting local animal rescue groups. Deadline is Aug. 31. Winners will be announced at Three Dog Bakery on Sept. 26. Details about rules and prizes can be found at www.abqdog.com/contest.shtml.
A young security guard gets roped into a local murder investigation against his will in the Vortex Theatre's new production of Lobby Hero. Combining comedy, drama and a candy sprinkle of romance, the play—written by Kenneth Lonegan and directed by Zane Barker—opens Aug. 13 and runs through Aug. 29. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Sundays at 6 p.m. $10 general, $8 students/seniors. To reserve tickets, call 247-8600.
Spin over to [AC]2 to catch a two-man show featuring figurative paintings by Sean Speigner along with mixed-media constructions by Michael Certo. Speigner concentrates on expressive explorations of the human form. Certo offers up new idiosyncratic resinous paintings inspired by his travels in Eastern Europe. Together these two mainstays of the Albuquerque arts scene have put together an impressive show. Figure/Ground will run through Aug. 29. For details, call 842-8016.
We Art the People: Folk Arts Festival
Steve White might've skipped town, but Yardfest—his famous yearly front yard, folk art hootenanny—is apparently going to bear offspring here in Albuquerque for a long time to come. "We were all just so inspired by Steve White's Yardfest," says Mary Lambert of the OFFCenter Community Arts Project, one of the organizers of this Saturday's We Art the People: Folk Arts Festival. "That people from all over the country could come together to promote art that's outside the mainstream is just really cool."
An interview with Jim Hightower
George W. Bush should buy himself a black John B. Stetson hat, some second-hand chaps and a pair of silver spurs. Then he'd look like a real cowboy, not just some prep school wannabe with a phony drawl. In that get-up, he could face another famous Texan, the left-wing rabble-rouser, Jim Hightower, a man famous for his gleaming white Stetson, on a dusty drag at high noon, the evil Republican villain versus the courageous Liberal hero, fighting a duel to the death over the biggest political issues of the day.
Hey, could there be anything better than an artificially flavored slush scooped up with a gigantic spoon-straw? No? Well how about a diet version? Unfortunately, the little pleasure called Slurpee used to cost you about 350 calories. Now you don't have to piss off your personal trainer every time 7-Eleven calls your name. The diet Slurpee, made with calorie-free diet sodas, is just one of several chilly liquid creations this summer, but it would be tough to say that the other folks are being as calorie-conscious as 7-Eleven. Krispy Kreme just released what we're calling the "liquid donut," a frosty treat that's supposed to mimic the sweet and yeasty flavor of a hot doughnut. Why anyone would want to drink frozen glaze is beyond me, but I am even more confused about the insane calorie content of these things. A small cup (8 ounce) of the original flavor packs a whopping 440 calories, twice the amount in just one doughnut. The Starbucks frappucino is also a gut-buster at an impressive 650 calories for the venti size (50 more than a Big Mac!), but at least the company is trying to do something about it. They just launched a light Frappucino that has only 140 calories for a tall size—without the whipped cream. Hey, if you drink it, the calories don't count, right? Sort of. If you can't fit into your autumn jeans because of your summer drinks, don't blame me. I told you about the diet Slurpee.
Bada Bing Pizza (1716 Eubank NE) now sleeps with the fishes. Once known as Moe's New York Style Pizza, the Italian dine-in and delivery restaurant quietly shut its doors several weeks back for reasons not yet known to us. Bada Bing was one of the few places in the city that served a truly great home made cannoli, not to mention a damn good pie. They were a little slice of New York nestled in the Northeast Heights. Judging from the responses we've received so far, they will be missed by pizza-philes everywhere.
The Food Allergen Labeling Act aims to help kids spot peanuts and soy on food labels
Last year the Stanford University dining hall became a "peanut-free" zone, a haven for all of those kids who feared Snickers like the plague and had to settle for jelly and jelly sandwiches. Of course, there was an initial uproar—in California they protest everything. No more spicy kung pao chicken? No more pad thai or ice cream sundaes? Students dressed as peanuts for Halloween and ran into the hall trying to scare the allergic kids; others threatened to spike the dishes with nuts unless they got more ice cream and fewer vegetables. Even at Stanford, people can be ridiculous.
Doin' it up cowboy style
To roast in the days of the chuck wagons, cooks dug a pit in the ground, filled it with hot coals and nestled a cast-iron Dutch oven into it, then covered it with sod and left it for hours. In New England, traditional clambakes are still done in a similar fashion, but while it's a tempting idea, it's not really feasible for most of us. For me, it won't work because three generations of my wife's family have lived in this house over the last half-century, and she comes from a long line of animal lovers. God knows what I'd turn up if I started digging in our back yard.
An interview with FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein
There are certain beliefs in America that we the people hold to be self-evident. We think of ourselves as a capitalistic society, for example, where everyone has an opportunity to buy and sell goods and services in an openly competitive, free market. After all, if you pay attention to the rhetoric coming out of Washington, you know free enterprise is a vital component to keeping our democracy strong and our economy sound. (Of course, these same politicians fail to see that giving billions of dollars in tax subsidies to massive, highly profitable oil, gas, coal, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries does not exactly foster a free, competitive market—but that's a whole other matter.)
Partisans argue over who is truly "the terrorists' candidate"
With the publication of two incendiary pieces of propaganda in recent weeks, the level of political discourse between parties has descended into the ranks of presumptive second guessing and outrageously speculative sloganeering. Painting the other guy as Osama's favorite is the new all-purpose character smear among partisans in this fiercely contested election.
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.
New Mexico Wildlife Federation president says "Hell no!" to drilling
Ellery Worthen enjoys hunting for big game, because he likes eating big game. He also describes himself as a maniacal waterfowl hunter, who has lived out his passion in New Mexico for the past 50 years. "I love to call ducks so much, sometimes I forget to shoot," he said.
"Let me offer some history of what brought us to this controversy"
We have just completed a walk through with the governor of the area at the Petroglyph Monument in dispute with the extension of Paseo del Norte. Once again both sides have presented the same arguments with Gov. Richardson trying to bring compromise to an issue that was resolved years ago; that compromise was established when all parties agreed to the extension and the Petroglyph Park. To now seek a compromise of a compromise is unfair to those residents of the Westside who contributed all that was necessary to establish the Monument.
Dems Play It Safe
As those things go, John Kerry's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention wasn't bad—his bizarre case of "chin sweat" notwithstanding. No one, of course, expected John Kerry to deliver the virtuoso performance U.S. Senate candidate Barak Obama electrified the donkeys with. That's just not his style .And, to paraphrase a line from Chariots of Fire, no political handler can put in a candidate what God didn't.
Little Progress in Any of Our Wars on Nouns
Right before the Democratic National Convention opened last week in Boston, another Bush appointee made the trip from D.C. to our electorally strategic state for a visit with the grass roots. Clarence Carter, head of the Community Services Administration, was here right after Gail Norton and Tommy Thompson, just before Vice President Dick Cheney's visit to Rio Rancho. He came to drum up interest in his attempt to redefine poverty. But his visit raised as many questions as it answered.
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.
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.
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.
Shyamalan's twisty new fairy tale is guaranteed to disappoint
Director M. Knight Shyamalan is a talented filmmaker. Make no mistake: He's got intriguing ideas, he's good with a camera, he's a master of atmosphere and he's not afraid to take risks. But the guy is so married to his perceived “gimmick” that he's all but squandered his rather significant Hollywood hype.
Agenda-driven thriller makes politics one scary business
Back in 1962, the politically charged film The Manchurian Candidate was not your average thriller. Based on Richard Condon's equally cynical book, the film concentrated on a group of Korean War soldiers brainwashed by the U.S. government. In the still patriotic post-World War II era, it was one of the first mainstream films to express a certain distrust in The Powers That Be. In an untimely bit of coincidence, however, the film was pulled from theaters shortly after its release by producer/star Frank Sinatra when President John F. Kennedy was killed by an assassin's bullet (closely mirroring a major plot element in the film). Considered a “hidden classic” until a home video revival a decade or so ago, The Manchurian Candidate remains a prescient political potboiler.
“Entourage” on HBO
HBO continues to impress with its Sunday night lineup. By maintaining a constantly rotating stable of fine comedy and drama—“The Sopranos,” “Sex and the City,” “Six Feet Under,” “Carnivale,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Deadwood”—the network is able to keep viewers glued to the day, even if the top shows are canceled (“Sex ...”) or on painfully extended hiatus (“Sopranos”). The newest show to hit HBO's Sunday Night “must see TV” slate is the Hollywood exposé “Entourage.”
The Week in Sloth
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?
Albuquerque Contemporary 2004 at the Albuquerque Museum
Gronk is roughly the sound a goose makes while chasing away a potential predator, but don't let that confuse you. Gronk also happens to be a renowned Los Angeles performance and visual artist best known for his spectacular murals. This year, he was also the juror responsible for selecting entries in Albuquerque Contemporary 2004, Magnífico's 15th annual exhibit of some of the best contemporary artists from the Albuquerque area.
John Edwards isn't the only one who thinks there are two Americas. Erin Currier's complex, multi-media paintings take a nose-dive into the inky pit of our multicultural nation, revealing that the United States is considerably more than just a bunch of pansy white boys like me (and John Edwards). Currier's exhibit, The Other America, opens this Saturday, Aug. 7, with a reception from 4 to 7 p.m. at Parks Gallery in Taos. It's worth the long ride to check out this amazing art. The show runs through Aug. 24. (505) 751-0343.
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.
The skinny on trans fat-free shortening
When Crisco appeared on the scene in 1911, it was the first solid shortening made entirely of vegetable oil, not lard. Solid shortening was the result of a technological breakthrough, called hydrogenation, that transformed liquid vegetable oil into a solid. Crisco was marketed as more sanitary than the commonly used animal fats and its popularity grew. Shortening steadily replaced lard in pie crusts and for deep frying. When Americans became concerned with the heart-damaging effects of saturated fats, solid vegetable shortening was again a popular alternative.
To a New Englander like me, there are two sure signs that summer is truly in full bloom: stacks of fresh corn in every seaside village and quarts of blueberries piled as high as an elephant's eye. You can't drive along a country road anywhere in Massachusetts without passing a little fruit stand mounded on one side with corn and on the other with thin wooden punnets of blueberries, newly picked and all yours for 99 cents a quart.