The Fifth Annual Revolutions International Theatre Festival
By Steven Robert Allen
"Theater can change the world."
For many people, this statement might sound pretentious, phony, even laughable. Theater? Change the world? Come on! Theater is an anachronism, right? It's just a game for maladjusted misfits played out at the fringes of our culture. If theater has any real impact on society, that impact is so minuscule it's virtually invisible to the naked eye.
Yet when you hear Tricklock Company members make this bold claim—which they do often—the statement takes on a whole new meaning. You can bet the bank this astonishingly talented crew believes this maxim with all its heart. You can also bet they're putting everything they've got into a valiant, well-coordinated campaign to make it so.
There are many benefits to living in Albuquerque. There's the weather. The relaxed, culturally diverse ambiance existing side by side with a funky art and music scene. There's the food. The nightlife. The proximity of spectacularly diverse wilderness in every direction.
Ticket prices for most events are $16 general admission, $12 students and seniors. Advanced ticket credit card orders are available for Albuquerque performances, with the exception of the Reptilian Lounge, by calling 266-2826 up to four hours before the start of each event, or by visiting the Tricklock Box Office. Tickets are also available with cash purchases at each venue starting one hour before the performance. Tickets for Santa Fe performances may be obtained by calling the Armory for the Arts at (505) 984-1370. For more information visit www.tricklock.com.
Thousands of Iraq war veterans will come home to face psychological problems and a system that may not be ready to help them
By Dan Frosch
The first time Kristin Peterson's husband hit her, she was asleep in their bed. She awoke that night a split second after Joshua's fist smashed into her face and ran, terrified and crying, to the bathroom to wipe the blood spurting from her nose. When she stuck her head back into the bedroom, there he was—punching at the air, muttering how she was coming after him and how he was going to kill her. Kristin started yelling but Joshua's eyes were closed. He was still asleep.
Musee des Beaux Arts. As you know, the horror cast by an Indian Ocean earthquake saturated news coverage both nationally and locally last week, and on Monday, Dec. 27, the Albuquerque Journal front page was exceptional for its odd, some might even say inane, choice of juxtaposed headlines.
Dateline: England—Spider-Man, Superman and Batman came to blows on Christmas Day in Canterbury, southern England. Police were called in to break up a fight after three men in tights were seen brawling on the sidewalk in front of a fast food van. The three superheroes apparently decided to trade punches after the van experienced a sudden shortage of burgers. A 23-year-old man suffered facial injuries, but declined to press charges. It is assumed the three were on their way to a fancy dress party. Or not. A police spokesman told the press simply, “Spider-Man, Superman and Batman were involved in a minor altercation at 12:32 a.m. at Wincheap on Christmas Day. The injured party declined to take it further.”
At the end of each year, when I'm inspired to relax for a moment and take a look back, I always come back to the same realization: I have very little, if anything, to bitch about. I love music, I love to write, I love to spew my opinions all over the place and I happen to hold the position of music editor at the second largest, and arguably most hip entertainment and culture newspaper in the city I was born and raised in, and am irrevocably attached to ... score! And one of the many perks this job provides is being able to backtrack through 12 months of music—some of it fantastic, some of it excruciatingly bad—in an effort to compile an annual list of the CDs that have most positively affected my life over the past year. It's one of the most difficult parts of the job considering the sheer number of new releases I wade through each calendar year, but it's also one of the most rewarding tasks I'll ever undertake.
This little “websclusive” feature was assembled as a reminder of just how much great music came out in 2004, and hopefully offers at least a few more national and local releases to add to your wish list.
Worst of the Worst—In addition to the good films, there was also a steady stream of bad movies to filter through theaters this year. For every Sideways that made its way into theaters, there were two or three Garfields thatraked in millions. Go figure. So, in the spirit of the hairball-puking hero of this summer's surprise hit, I present 2004's 10 Worst List.
The anno horribilus known as 2004 turned out to be an interesting one, cinema-wise. The word that keeps cropping up in my mind is “mature.” Even the best kiddy fare this year (The Incredibles, Mean Girls) seemed surprisingly sharp and clever.
Reality TV continued to rule the airwaves (or “pollute the airwaves,” depending on your perspective). Gay-themed TV shows fell out in favor of poker-themed TV shows (a trend that will only continue in 2005). And, of course, 130 million people saw Janet Jackson's boob. That's the year that was television in 2004.
Ladies and gentlemen, the sweet, intoxicating stench of love is already in the air. It isn't too early to start making plans for this year's Valentine's Day. Before you know it the big day will be right up on you, sinking its sharp fangs deep into your hind parts. Don't be caught unprepared. Start planning today.
Danielle Ferriera's exhibit of organic sculptures crafted from bug parts, dried fruit skins, vegetable peelings, rusty nails and other scavenged bits opens this Friday in the main gallery at the Harwood Art Center. She'll also be selling inexpensive small bronze sculptures and donating the proceeds to Bridging the Worlds Animal Sanctuary. Ferriera's show is just one of many Artscrawl gallery tour exhibits occurring across Albuquerque on Friday from 5 to 8:30 p.m. For the full roster, please call 244-0362 or log on to www.artscrawlabq.org.
As always, this list is both utterly subjective and painfully incomplete. It's also just a little bit ridiculous, of course, to even make such a list. Part of me has always despised this sort of thing. That isn't going to stop me from spewing out my picks, though. At the very least, I'm convinced that all of the following artsy litsy events and artifacts deserve extremely high praise. So here are my picks in no particular order. My apologies to the dozens of worthy performers, artists and writers who I inevitably left out. This doesn't mean I don't love you.
Yeah, sure, Shel Silverstein's crowning accomplishment might be "A Boy Named Sue," the hilarious song popularized by Johnny Cash, but the famous humorist also wrote a bunch of killer short plays. They'll be staged starting this weekend at the Vortex Theatre. Yes, many of them step way over the line, so don't bring the kids. Adults, though, can expect to laugh their asses off. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. $10 general, $8 students/seniors. Sundays at 6 p.m. $8. Runs through Jan. 23. 247-8600.
It's the ultimate holiday irony. We've spent an entire month eating without abandon,
sampling everything from Aunt Joanne's legendary walnut fudge to gooey, red chile-soaked
enchiladas, right down to the last heavenly crumb of cream pie, shaggy with coconut.
Our clothes no longer fit comfortably and we're just a little sluggish—which
explains how we still have no idea what the hell we're doing for New Year's Eve.
Well, wake up! The 11th hour is upon us and we've got some work to
do. There's no need to panic, though. We've divvied up the labor to make this
as painless as possible. All you've got to do is tuck this publicationinto
your gym bag and hop on a stationary bike. That way you can scope out a hefty
roundup of Albuquerque clubs while simultaneously liquidating your stubborn holiday
The 18th Annual New Mexico Music Industry Awards is now accepting submissions for consideration through Friday, Jan. 28, 2005. The awards banquet doesn't take place until May 22, 2005, but the NMMIA crew have their work cut out for them between the end of January and awards night judging entries that have been primarily recorded and mixed in New Mexico between Jan. 1, 2004 and the deadline. Music of all genres is accepted, and there are a variety of categories to consider. More information, entry forms, drop-off location, etc. can be had at www.nmmia.com. ... KRWN FM in Farmington is currently soliciting New Mexico bands to submit their music for airplay on the station's local rock program airing every Saturday night. Being based in Farmington, the station's broadcast reaches listeners in the Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico four corners area. MP3s and brief bios should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org, attention Shawn Kelly. ... Sweet Honey in the Rock return to the Lensic in Santa Fe on Friday, Jan. 21. The reason I mention this now is that tickets will most likely sell out within 72 hours of the on-sale date (still TBA at press time). So call the Lensic and get your tickets now, or miss one of the finest female world music groups alive today yet again.
What if everything you ever thought about your record collection turned out to be wrong? What if all the albums you grew up listening to—the ones that formed the soundtrack to your sad little life—were ultimately revealed to be unworthy of all the time you spent learning every lyric, every inflection, every air-drum fill? For most of us, it would be tantamount to finding out that, whatever our interpretation, God didn't really exist. Reading Kill Your Idols, a new collection of essays edited by Chicago-based music critics Jim DeRogatis and Carmél Carrillo, is a bit like having all your musical balloons burst one by painful one. It also happens to be one of the most engaging musical reads to come down the pike in a long time.
Singing the living shit out of someone else's tried and true hit song—which “American Idol” winner Ruben Studdard can certainly do—is a far cry from making a convincing record full of untested and mildly familiar tunes. Studdard's second CD is a drink coaster that makes noise. The songs are limp, the vocal performances lack any discernible soul, and the whole affair sounds thoroughly uninspired. Studdard can sing, but he's at his best in a karaoke environment in front of a musically clueless television audience. As a recording artist, though, Studdard needs significantly more than just an angel. He'll be a realtor by 2006.
No one will ever accuse Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the former Stanford students who founded the Internet search company Google, of a lack of ambition. Brin once said that he hoped Google could be "like the mind of God, everywhere and knowing everything." When the company went public earlier this year, the pair promised to organize all information.
Common Ground: Art in New Mexico at the Albuquerque Museum
By Steven Robert Allen
Pity the permanent collection. Locked away for most of its sad life in a dark, lonely temperature- and humidity-controlled vault, it only rarely gets to feel the warmth of artificial light on its fragile skin.
Longtime Albuquerque comedy producer Ronn Perea inaugurates his Duke City Comedy Cabaret on New Year's Eve, Friday, Dec. 31, at Mr. K.'s Chinese Restaurant, formerly New Chinatown. The Red-Headed Divas will be singing jazz and blues numbers. Local comic Goldie Garcia will tell a few jokes. Brenda Hollingsworth Picket will be doing her Lena Horne impression. And comic Bobby Bedard headlines the evening. "After the show," says Perea, "we'll be partying until the midnight hour." A steal at $15. www.rt66cabaret.com, 265-8859.
Sitting cross-legged on a couch in the library of his Upper East Side apartment, wearing the trademark white suite, navy tie and spotless two-tone spats, Tom Wolfe is about as far from a college keg party as one can be in the United States of America. He should know, since this 74-year-old chronicler of the zeitgeist spent the past four years listening to wasted 20-year-olds recite lines from Old School and spin their game at co-eds. The result of this anthropological masochism is I am Charlotte Simmons, a hulking, hilarious, exclamation point filled tale that is probably every suburban dad's worst nightmare. The novel follows college frosh Charlotte Simmons from her small hometown in the Blue Ridge Mountains to the sex-obsessed campus of fictional DuPont University, where a college basketball player, a frat boy and a nerdy editor of the campus newspaper vie for her hand. Wolfe explained why young co-eds fascinated him so.
Oh, just go ahead and eat and drink like the world might end. Because if you're like most people, you really do only have a few days left before the good times have all gone bye-bye. Come January, your "new life" begins and you have to start exercising and eating right, quit smoking and switch to light beer. Yup, it'll be All Bran all the time in 2005. You have lots of leafy green vegetables and grilled chicken breasts, wheatgrass shots and iced herbal tea to look forward to. Are you crying into your beer yet? Your 40-ouncemalt liquorbeer? Just think how much tail you're going to pull when you belly up to the bar and order a Michelob Ultra. Very sexy, tough guy. Ah, and now the tears come. Shed those tears now my dears, so you won't have runny mascara for the big New Year's party. You know, the party at which you're going to eat handfuls of bacon-wrapped cocktail wieners dipped in chile con queso, washing them down with Jim Beam straight from the bottle and a chaser of oatmeal stout. Stick that hand deep into the candy jar on the receptionist's desk and gobble up every last chocolate truffle you can dig out of your nephew's discarded Christmas stocking. Because in the words of that somber zombie movie 28 Days Later, "the end is really f-ing nigh."
In January 1919, a 14,000-ton tank of molasses burst and sent a 30-foot wall of ooze rampaging through downtown Boston. It crushed a firehouse, flung horses and wagons into the air, and molassesed 21 people to death.
From Chef James P. O'Brien III of Milagro Grill and Brewery
By Gwyneth Doland
James O'Brien is a restless traveler. Milagro's new chef grew up in St. Louis, but has since worked in Memphis, Louisville and Atlanta, and attended culinary school in Vermont. O'Brien's wife was eight months pregnant when he decided to quit his high-paying corporate chef job and take a chance on relocating to the Southwest. After six months spent cooking at the Sheraton Old Town, O'Brien decided to settle down in the kitchen at Milagro Grill and Brewery in Bernalillo. “I walked through the door and my jaw dropped,” the chef says of his first visit to the restaurant. “I thought hands down this was the most beautiful restaurant I'd seen since I've been in New Mexico.” Milagro's menu, on the other hand, presented an inviting challenge. To O'Brien, it looked like the menu had been written by three different people—none of whom agreed with each other. He started work immediately on a dinner menu that would present a clear vision of elegant but rustic food; dishes that are creative but approachable. This Chardonnay-braised lamb shank is one of the chef's favorite dishes from his new menu, which debuted just a few weeks ago. The crispness of the Chardonnay helps to counter any gaminess in the meat so that even diners unfamiliar with lamb will be wooed.
City Animal Services Division draws ire of animal rights activist
By Christie Chisholm
It all started six years ago, when one day Marcy Britton found a 6-week-old stray kitten in a gutter. Concerned for the animal's safety, the animal rights activist decided to take the kitten to the Albuquerque Animal Services shelter, where she hoped it would eventually be adopted. Yet, when Britton delivered the kitten, she witnessed an event that not only shocked and disturbed her, but would also come to change her life.
Of course some will disagree—Bush was re-elected, the war in Iraq continues to simmer, federal spending actually makes inebriated sailors look tight-fisted and the last episode of “Friends”aired. But, given all the craziness in the world today, 2004 could have been worse—and, remember, things could always get worse (imagine Boy George and Culture Club reuniting).
Dateline: Michigan—Santa's got a brand new bag! A 40-year-old Detroit man who visited a middle school in Highland Park was left with a citation after being busted for misdemeanor marijuana possession. A Wayne County Sheriff's Deputy who works at the school found the small baggie of marijuana while searching for identification in a coat left in a school restroom. The unidentified man had left the coat in the men's restroom after changing into his Santa suit. The man denied the pot was his, but now faces a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail. His wife, who was at the school to take pictures of Santa with the students, apparently didn't know about the weed in her husband's coat. “She was not happy,” Lt. Paul Jones said. “It's going to be a long ride back to the North Pole.”
Forget gay marriage, it's about health, child care and a living wage
By Jerry Ortiz y Pino
Driving north from Deming last week the NPR station faded out somewhere between Hatch and T or C, so I hit the scan button on the car radio and was immediately transported into some weird other dimension, an alternative reality I can only begin to describe. It was scary. It was Christian Life Radio.
'Tis the Season—It's the giving time of year, and what better to give your favorite Hollywood star than an award nomination? Yes, it's that pre-Oscar time of year, when every organization in America starts handing out awards in hopes of getting some good press coverage and maybe a visit from Naomi Watts in an evening dress.
Although he got rich and famous as one half of the brotherly duo that created the American Pie series, Paul Weitz has apparently decided it's time to grow up. He proved it quite handily in 2002 when he (and his brother Chris) directed About a Boy. That adaptation of Nick Hornby's popular novel proved that the Weitz boys had more going for them than an endless supply of wiener jokes.
Walden Robert Cassotto's relentless drive, arrogance and charisma were a perfect recipe for superstardom. As an entertainer, he was absolutely remarkable. He had the moves, the humor, he was personable with his audience. He was Bobby Darin in all his egocentric, pseudo-confident glory. As his brother-in-law put it, the man we know as the singer of famous songs like "Mack the Knife" and "Beyond the Sea" was both Walden Robert Cassotto and Bobby Darin. He was still a child who was struggling to stay alive, and he was the entertainer everyone expected him to be.
Television is a crucial part of any New Year's Eve celebration. How else are you gonna know when midnight has officially struck? Nobody's watch ever agrees, and you're usually too busy boozing it up to notice anyway. Turning the TV on and watching as the big, lit-up ball drops into Times Square is pretty much the most accurate measuring device mankind has.
Imagine you are serving in the National Guard or Army Reserves in Iraq or Afghanistan and the money you are sending home as the primary bread-winner is no longer enough to cover your family's basic living expenses. Imagine you are failing to make the mortgage payment and face losing your home, or that your spouse can no longer afford to remain enrolled in school, or your family is about to lose their health insurance, or the propane tank needs to be filled and there's no money in the coffee can to get it done.
Several years ago, when the state fair commission decided they no longer wanted the fairgrounds to serve as a temporary winter overflow shelter for homeless men, community members operating as the Homeless Advocacy Coalition planned to create a year-round, secular men's shelter in Albuquerque. It was an ambitious plan for a small coalition operating on a $35,000 annual budget.
During his family practice residency at UNM Hospital, Dr. Andru Ziwasimon said he became aware of the profound barriers and inflated costs of medical care for low-income and uninsured people, and he decided the best way to do his part to fix the problem was start a health clinic that offers primary care to uninsured patients.
Did you know that our little city boasts the largest community land trust west of the Mississippi River? It's right near Old Town in the Sawmill neighborhood and reflects a brilliant, uplifting example of neighborhood folks joining together to combine community values, government subsidies, private capital and new urbanism architecture to create jobs and long-term affordable housing for hundreds of area residents.
Imagine that your child has been diagnosed with cancer. Now imagine that in order to care for your child, either you or your partner has to quit your job. And, if you don't live in Albuquerque, get ready to move here, because the only Pediatric Oncology Clinic in the state is at the University of New Mexico Hospital. If that's not hard enough, imagine that, due to your job loss and the extra expenses of caring for a sick child, you're behind on your rent, your phone bills, your electric bills, and your landlord's threatening to evict you. Sadly enough, such a scenario is not uncommon among families who have a child with cancer.
"When things piss me off I act on them," Sam Slishman says. He was explaining why he invented and patented a collapsible ski pole that can function as a splint for broken leg bones, but he's also shedding light on the reason why he's spent the last two years working on solutions to Albuquerque's persistent problem with substance-dependent homeless people. Right now, intoxicated transients are constantly cycled through the Bernalillo County Detention Center and UNM Hospital's emergency room. The situation is extremely expensive and does little, if nothing, to help treat a deeply troubled segment of the population.
Felix Torres wants to grow high water-use forage crops (like alfalfa) with a low-water use method like hydroponics. This year, his organization, the Indio-Hispano Academy of Agricultural Arts and Sciences (IHAAAS), was awarded a grant by the governor's Water Innovation Fund to study the subject. Now the academy will be growing test crops in a 5,000 square foot greenhouse in the South Valley and looking at the impact hydroponics might have on water conservation techniques in New Mexico. He'll also study the social, cultural and economic aspects of what it would take to implement the practice. Convincing Valley farmers to switch to hydroponics could save tons of water, but it would be a tough sell. But Torres' project, he hopes, is bound to make it happen.
For years, Debbra Colman worked long hours as the executive project director for the Historic District Improvement Company, dedicating her career to Albuquerque's downtown revitalization efforts. Once the downtown Century Theaters complex was finished in 2003, she planned on taking a year off to travel and recover from years of exhaustive overtime. Then she went to the city's East Side animal shelter to retrieve a lost pet for a friend and her travel plans were abruptly put on hold.
It's mainly been a pretty good year for the awwwwwts here in Albuquerque. Yes, there have been a few tragedies. Magnífico gave up its swanky contemporary art space at 516 Central SW a couple months ago. Yeah, that sucked. It also sucked that the Walls Gallery, right next to the Artichoke Café, closed down and that Jon McConville, the long-time, highly innovative Downtown art activist, had to leave town suddenly to deal with a family situation in Idaho.
This last July, a man was found walking along Old Route 66, which, in itself, is not an unusual event. What is unique, is that the man had no name—at least, not one that he could remember. When "John Doe" was found he was dehydrated, starving and had total amnesia.
Elissa Breitbard had a eureka! moment about two years back when she heard of the emerging Boulder Independent Business Alliance (BIBA) of Boulder, Colo., and what the organization was doing in an effort to keep independent businesses alive amidst an ever-increasing threat of chain stores and mega-marts.
The Library Bar & Grill opened its doors last Friday, Dec. 17, at 312 Central SW, formerly the home of Brewster's Pub. The Library began as a concept bar nearly three years ago in Tempe, Ariz., catering to the lunch and dinner crowd, then transforming somewhat in the later hours of the evening into a bustling nightclub. Live bands will reportedly be an established part of the Library's entertainment, which also includes servers dressed as Catholic schoolgirls who dance on the bar at prescribed times each night for the deeply religious among you, 26 screens featuring music videos, and special events to be announced. ... Local band Frostbite will celebrate the release of their debut CD on Tuesday, Dec. 28, with Evenkeal and 20/20 Blind at 9 p.m. ... In other local band news, at long last KI have put the final touches on their new CD, Powdershy, which they'll officially release on Friday, Jan. 7, at the Launchpad. Meanwhile, you can get a taste of what's in store on the new record by visiting www.kimusic.net where you can download a pair of the fresh tracks. The band are currently busy confirming a second, all-ages CD release party, and you can get the latest update on that show as well by visiting the website.
This much anticipated pairing of our greatest young Britten tenor, Ian Bostridge, and most versatile countertenor, David Daniels, yields impressive results. Britten was a devout Christian and pacifist who wrote much of his vocal music for his life-partner, tenor Peter Pears.
With fans still waiting for Neil Young's boxed set for more than a decade now, the release of Young's first-ever official greatest hits collection last month was something of a letdown in that it indicates that Shakey will spend perhaps another 10 years working on his mythical career retrospective. What you here get are 16 Young classics you've heard a million times, compiled, as his liner note states, “based on original record sales, airplay and known download history.” The included “supersaturated” stereo DVD version of the album is the best reason to buy it, as the sound is truly enormous.
You've got one last chance to see a local production of The Nutcracker. Don't miss this opportunity to expose yourself and the kids in your life to the most popular ballet ever made. Ballet Theatre of New Mexico will be putting up its yearly rendition of the Tchaikovsky classic at the KiMo Theatre (423 Central NW ) on Thursday, Dec. 23, at 7 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 24, at 1 p.m.
Given the current rate of urban sprawl, it's reasonable to assume that 50 years from now Albuquerque and Santa Fe will merge into a single urban unit. We might as well get a jump on our inevitable union by letting bygones be bygones. There's no need to keep fighting. We're sisters, after all. Sure, Santa Fe is a prissy cosmopolitan educated at Yale who married the ambassador to Japan, while we here in Albuquerque are a cheap bimbo with a weakness for Kahlua who dropped out of school in the 11th grade to pursue a dubious career as an exotic dancer—but that doesn't mean we don't have a lot of common interests.
One less wart on the ass of Albuquerque's airwaves! After 24 years of basing an entire AM talk radio morning show on never having any ideas of his own, parroting spew from other media outlets and passing himself off as a politically savvy celebrity host, Larry Ahrens® refused a contract renewal offer last Thursday from Citadel Communications, the radio conglomerate that owns the microphone Ahrens used to mouth off into at 770 KKOB. In a statement given to the Journal last week, Ahrens® said he didn't think the offer made by Citadel was "commensurate with my value in the marketplace."
What a sad state progressives are in when we are getting advice from freshman state Rep. Greg Payne and his protégé, City Councilor Miguel Gomez (RE: “Payne's World,” [“City Council presidency highlights conflict between Gomez and Griego"]).
Just in time for the festive holiday season, I would like to share two stories about America's giant corporate banks, a couple of real-life incidents that didn't exactly warm the cockles of my heart when I heard about them. They did raise a few hackles, though—and the difference between activating hackles and cockles may be worth considering.
Dateline: Maine—Workers at the Good Shepherd Food Bank in Auburn, Maine, got an extra shipment of leafy greens recently. While unloading a truckload of watermelons, a volunteer came across a 20-pound bale of marijuana. The man told police the marijuana, which was neatly wrapped with packing tape, was loaded near the front end of a tractor-trailer that was dropping off watermelons at the food bank's warehouse. After the bale was discovered, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency was called. An agent quizzed the volunteer, but it was quickly determined he had nothing to do with the illegal shipment. “It was definitely bizarre,” the volunteer, who did not want to be identified, told the Sun Journal of Lewiston. The marijuana, assumed to be from Mexico and worth an estimated $20,000, was seized as evidence and will likely be destroyed. The Good Shepherd Food Bank distributes donated food to more than 470 food pantries and soup kitchens throughout Maine.
Gracious Grant—Immediately after snagging Second Place in the first annual Governor's Cup Film Challenge and Best Native Film at the recent Santa Fe Film Festival for his short film “Raven Tales,” filmmaker Chris Kientz announced sponsorship of a major film grant in the state of New Mexico. The Las Cruces-based filmmaker has teamed up with the Albuquerque-based nonprofit Media Rights Foundation to offer the grant, which will hopefully encourage our homegrown film industry. Details are still being worked out regarding the distribution of the grant. It will either go to the winner of next year's Governor's Cup or to a film selected by a jury from the Media Rights Foundation. Kientz has already donated $10,000 and was gifted with another $2,000 at the Santa Fe Film Festival. All private and corporate donations to the grant are tax deductible. In addition, $1 from all sales of the “Raven Tales” DVD will go into the grant. The DVD is available in Albuquerque at Andrews Pueblo Pottery and in Santa Fe at the American Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of the American Indian. You can also order it online at www.raventales.ca. For more info on the film grant (and other topics of artistic importance) check out the Media Rights Foundation at www.pbrainmedia.com/mrf.
Screechy, overstuffed Phantom dies of stage fright
By Devin D. O'Leary
Here's the problem: I think Phantom of the Opera is a crap musical. The songs are too literal, the music is smug and repetitive and the plot is frosted with far too much swooning romance. So the odds are pretty good I'm not going to enjoy the film version all that much. You, on the other hand, may love everything Andrew Lloyd Webber puts his rich little mitts on—from Jesus Christ Superstar to Cats to Aspects of Love. If that's the case, then you'll probably find plenty to enjoy in Joel Schumacher's garish, overstuffed film version.
Director Martin Scorsese is one of the most celebrated American filmmakers. But even he has his ups and downs. Scorsese's last film, Gangs of New York, was an invigorating, epic look back at New York's brutal birth. It was also a wildly uneven picture with a sprawling story line and some questionable casting. (Cameron, honey, I'm sorry, but you just didn't belong in that one.) Nonetheless, the film did introduce Scorsese to his new favorite leading man, Leonardo DiCaprio. It was this introduction that led, no doubt, to Scorsese and DiCaprio's latest collaboration, the magnificent Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator.
Christmas Eve is typically a time to spend with friends and family. You drink some egg nog, sing some carols, play some Cranium, open some presents. Then again, maybe that's not your style. Maybe you're in prison. Maybe you're an orphan. Maybe you're just antisocial. Who am I to judge? Perhaps the best policy would be to lock your door and curl up in front of the warm, flickering glow of the television this holiday season.
What are you doing on New Year's Eve? Well, you could go out to a bar and drink lots of repulsively bad champagne, never getting quite drunk enough to enjoy it when the really drunk people start the countdown to midnight at 11:37 p.m., then realize they've done it too early, and so do it again. And again and again and again. How much sincere woo-hooing can you do if you're not drunk enough to barf or kiss a stranger of the same sex? So, I see two solutions: either you need to drink more, much more, or you should make other plans. This week, I've written about a handful of restaurants that are serving special New Year's Eve menus. Wouldn't that be fun? If it's not in the budget, may I suggest cooking at home for a select group of your favorite people? Tell everyone to get dressed up, pull out your best dishes and light the house with candles. Tell the guests to bring decent bubbly. You can still get drunk enough to barf or kiss each other, but you'll be doing it with people who will hold your hair for you (or hold their tongues about the kissing thing).
Relish (8019 Menaul NE, near Flying Star) shuffles ownership and takes a short holiday. Well, now that's confusing, and I don't want you to think that Chef/Owner Johnny Orr is leaving, because he's not, his business partners are. Tony Nethery, who is chef at Monte Vista Fire Station (Central and Bryn Mawr) and a huge lover of cheese, bought out Orr's other partners. Nethery and Orr plan to work together on some minor improvements to the Northeast Heights cheese and sandwich shop, and to accomplish that, they'll close from Dec. 23 through Jan. 2. The two also plan to talk about possible future plans for Relish, including the idea of expanding the shop's hours. Over the next few weeks, Nethery plans to divide his time between Relish and the Fire Station. He's reluctant to give up his chef duties at the restaurant, where he's implemented a series of popular menus that incorporate his Southern comfort-food aesthetic. I promise to follow Nethery, Orr and both restaurants all this all unfolds in the new year.
Raise your hand if you're tired of the holidays already. The rude traffic, the tackle-football shopping and the inescapable holiday jingles make me want to curl up with a bottle and emerge when it's over. Perhaps I have a case of seasonal dysfunction, but since I can't afford to check into Betty Ford, I can use her alcoholic coping mechanism as a mood enhancer. Yes, I believe wine can mellow holiday annoyances, like so:
New Year's Eve is a tough night for dining out, even tougher than figuring out which Albuquerque restaurants close on Sundays and which ones close on Mondays. Some of the places you'd expect to be open on a big, fancy night, close because they want to spend the holiday with their own friends and family. But then there are the little mom ’n' pop joints that remain inexplicably open. Some of the restaurants serving on New Year's Seasons will simply serve their regular menus, perhaps with the addition of a special or two. Others, like those listed here, have chosen to lure diners with flashy menus full of flown-in seafood, prime rib and filet mignon. Many of the prix-fixe dinners include wine; some don't. Be sure to go over all the details when you call, and call you must.