A few weeks ago I wrote about how foolish a policy it is for a state to funnel its public mental health funds through "for profit" HMOs—private companies charged with managing that care but which can increase their profit line by reducing services.
Dateline: Australia—A court has ruled that a convicted heroin dealer can claim a $165,000 tax deduction for money that was stolen during a bad drug deal. The Australian Taxation Office had been trying to make Francesco Dominico La Rosa of Perth pay tax on his 1994-95 income, which is estimated at $337,000. But La Rosa, who recently served a 12-year term for dealing heroin and amphetamines, insisted his taxable income should be reduced. La Rosa told the High Court that the $165,000 cash he had buried in his back yard was dug up to pay for a drug deal in May 1995. That transaction went badly and ended up with the money being stolen by unknown people. The High court agreed with a lower court decision that upheld La Rosa's claims. The federal government has now vowed to change the law to bar losses incurred in illegal transactions from being claimed as tax deductions in the future.
Gone Again—The Big Screen Classics series at Santa Fe's Lensic Performing Arts Center returns this weekend with one of the biggest classics of all time. The 1938 epic Gone With the Wind will screen on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. Tickets are a mere $5 and can be obtained by calling the Lensic box office at (505) 988-1234. The Lensic is located at 211 W. San Francisco.
By the time you read this, we'll most likely at least have some indication as to whether America is in for a new beginning and a chance at relative peace and prosperity or simply Dubya Dubya III. If the case turns out to be the latter, I'm either dead right now of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the mouth or attempting to seek political refuge in Canada. Or if it turns out that this is my last column for the Alibi, I wish you all well. ... Anyway, The Oktober People will celebrate the release of their eponymous debut CD on Friday, Nov. 5, at the Launchpad with simple., Foma and The Mindy Set. If you haven't yet heard the record, you're in for a sonic treat that should get you through the holidays and right on up through Memorial Day 2005 without having to buy another record. ... Now calling himself a “reformed classical guitar champion”—he's won both international classical and fingerstyle guitar competitions—local guitar powerhouse Michael Chapdelaine has just released an exceptional new CD, Bach is Cool, featuring the music of, you guessed it ... Bach. He'll perform selections from the new CD as well as music by Brouwer, Villa-Lobos, Alben and a few of his own compositions on Sunday, Nov. 7, at the Old San Ysidro Church in Corrales at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call 277-3928 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and reservations. ... In what is likely to be one of the most odd-ball rock shows of the past few months, San Francisco's The Slow Poisoners will join forces with Israeli indie rock duo, Mother's Anger (see this week's “Lucky 7” calendar) and Burque's own Rakes of Mallow on Tuesday, Nov. 9, at Burt's Tiki Lounge. The Slow Poisoner's latest offering, Melodrama, is a beautifully strange conceptual piece of rock dinner theater. Trust me, it'll all make sense once you get there.
Sublime. Perhaps never before has the word been more gainfully employed than in the description of Perla Batalla's spark plug of a voice. The Los Angeles-born singer is the Latina Aretha Franklin and, at times, Patsy Cline. She runs a stylistic gamut that stretches wide between Arabic drone and Mexican lullabies, and no matter what she happens to be singing, it's quite likely among the most beautiful and inspiring things you've ever heard.
Tuesday, Nov. 9; Launchpad (21 and over, 8 p.m.): New Orleans' infamous Dirty Dozen Brass Band took their name back in 1977 from one of the Crescent City's innumerable "Social and Pleasure" clubs, where the ensemble came together specifically to provide musical diversion for those who came to relax at the club.
The world needs a 20th anniversary re-release of Twisted Sister's Stay Hungry LP like it needs another four years of George W. Bush. But, at press time, we're stuck with at least one of the above. Aside from a pair of bona fide, albeit criminally overplayed, '80s rock anthems (“We're Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock”), the original album was basically a steaming pile of shit. And you just can't polish a turd into anything but a shiny turd. Not even with two “lost” tracks from the original sessions and five new TS songs recorded earlier this year.
Prolific local artist Rachel Allen recently passed away, but neither Allen nor her art will be forgotten by her admirers and friends anytime soon. She will be missed. A memorial exhibit of her attractively eccentric work opens this Friday, Nov. 5, at the New Grounds Print Workshop (3812 Central SE) with a reception from 5 to 7:30 p.m. during which a silent auction of Allen's art will be held. All proceeds will go towards a printmaking scholarship. The exhibit, called Open Your Heart, will also include work by other members of the workshop. The show runs through Nov. 27. 268-8952.
Why, why, why do I agree to do these things? The American Dairy Goat Association had their annual conference here last week and they invited me, along with a dozen or so other chefs, purveyors and writers, to help judge their cheese competition. Now, I love cheese, and I love goat cheese, but it will be a very, very long time before I'm able to stomach another bite of chèvre. Seriously, judging these contests is brutal. “Oh, my God,” some of you may be saying, “I can't believe she's whining about getting paid to sit around and eat goat cheese for a living.” And to you people I say this: shove it up your @$$. Maybe you enjoy writing code and that's why you work as a programmer. But how would you like to spend hours taking in other people's code, the good, the bad and the very, very bad? OK, that analogy fell apart a long time ago. The point is, there are not 40 fabulous goat cheeses for sale at your cheese counter for a reason. Some are better than others. You may enjoy a few crackers spread with a little chèvre, as you sip wine and mingle at a party. But what if we made you taste 40 different cheeses, take copious notes and rate them on 30 different attributes? You might get cranky and lash out at perfectly nice people in your newspaper column, then wonder if you should perhaps take anger management classes. Uh-oh.
Chef Kent Dagnall, most recently of Blue Dragon Coffeehouse, is now Pastry Chef at Annapurna Chai House (Silver and Yale). Dagnall will be helping owner Yashoda Naidoo expand the bakery aspect of the business, a challenge since everything at Annapurna is vegetarian and much of it is vegan. Naidoo and her staff had been making a small amount of muffins, cheesecakes, different Indian sweets and cookies, but Dagnall, who has extensive experience with vegetarian cooking, will be greatly expanding the restaurant's sweet repertoire. Annapurna now has two locations, one at Juan Tabo and the other at Silver and Yale. The original Annapurna, at San Mateo and Copper, is now Mediterranean Café. Naidoo said she vacated that space because the kitchen was too small and she had outgrown it. In fact, business is so good, Naidoo says that she's in the process of opening another location of her vegetarian café and that's why she's especially glad to have Dagnall now. "He speaks my language," she told me. "I'm planning my Santa Fe store, and now I know I have somebody in the kitchen I can trust. He's just like me. He experiments." Naidoo didn't have full details on the Santa Fe location because she's still in negotiation for the space, but she did say that it'll be just like her Albuquerque restaurants, about the same size as the University location.