Driving home while thinking about the cultural profoundity of events like Weekly Alibi’s upcoming Best of Burque Music Showcase—which is happening on Saturday evening, March 24, downtown, in case you did not know that fact—led me to the shores of ghetto Smith’s where I repaired to the produce section for some fresh fruit to calm my florid mind.
When it comes to the Otero Mesa, folks involved in the struggle over oil and gas drilling permits seldom agree on what they define as need, and what they define as greed. Oil and gas companies, for instance, argue that drilling in the Otero Mesa would help to boost the local economy by bringing jobs and supplying additional funding to state education. But there are others, such as conservationists, ranchers and sportsmen, who say that the benefits of drilling on the vast section of Chihuahuan desert in south-central New Mexico have a cost—and it's more than we can afford.
The short, happy life of Jeff Gannon. Two weeks ago, "Thin Line" noted the shameful appearance of Jeff Gannon, Washington bureau chief for an outfit called Talon News, at President Bush's Jan. 26 press conference. While real reporters waited in vain, Gannon gained instant credibility when the president selected him.
For further proof that Congresswoman Heather Wilson must think her constituents will buy into every phony claim she doles out, just look to this warm and fuzzy offering in her Feb. 7 e-newsletter from Washington. Under the heading "Wilson statement about State of the Union address," our elected representative offers this single paragraph: "I thought the President gave a very strong speech. To me, the most powerful moment was not what was said, but something we saw. An Iraqi human rights activist, who is the daughter of a man murdered by Saddam Hussein, embraced the mother of a Marine killed in Iraq fighting for her freedom and the right to vote. It was a powerful visual reminder of what this is all about."
Dateline: Australia—A fire station in Sydney allegedly missed an emergency call because one of the crewmembers was off picking up a pizza in the station's fire truck. The New South Wales Fire Brigade has launched an inquiry into the incident at Maroubra fire station. After picking up the pizza, the fireman allegedly took some friends for a joyride. During the time the fire engine was away, the station received an emergency call and was unable to respond. Two other fire crews did manage to answer the call, but officials are still taking the incident quite seriously. “This is not a humorous situation,” warned state opposition emergency services spokesman Andrew Humpherson. “This was a fire truck and somebody could have died.”
As a college student in the '60s I well-remember the frequent complaint we voiced that our education didn't seem "relevant." We wanted to be studying real life subject matter, not esoteric writings by a bunch of old white guys divorced from what was happening in the rapidly changing world swirling around us.
Have you been to Epicurious? If the answer is yes, pat yourself on the back, bask a moment in righteous glory and move along to “The Dish”. If the answer is, “What the hell is Epicurious, and will I need any vaccinations?” then it's about time you came out of the dark ages, my friend. Epicurious.com is a miraculous website run by the folks who publish Gourmet and Bon Appétit. It's an indispensable tool and I can't imagine living without it, but judging by the number of people who still ask me what to do with turnips, it's still not bookmarked on everyone's toolbar. Click on the search box and type in the ingredient that's loitering menacingly at the bottom of your fridge. Whether it's sorrel, goat cheese or beets, Epicurious will give you a long list of ideas for what to do with it. (In fact, type in all three and you'll find a fabulous-looking recipe for sorrel-wrapped goat cheese and beet stacks.) Next time you're standing there in the produce aisle, staring at the enoke mushrooms and thinking, “Hmm...” just throw them in the cart. Go home, tap tap tap and your guests are remarking on the genius of your wild mushroom and arugula crostini, or the delightful tang of your Thai shrimp curry. “I never knew what to do with those weird little mushrooms,” the guests will say. “Oh! There are tons of things you can do with them!”
It's called California Witches, but the only biddy on a broomstick here is the picture of a witch on the logo. Owner Jenny Marcus is the Korean-born chef at this month-old restaurant at 7202 Menaul NE. Marcus learned her trade in Korea before moving to California eight years ago. She decided to name her place in homage to a Korean restaurant she had admired, one that served sandwiches, and called them witches for short.
"You think what you do is so nice?" asks Mimi Sheraton's mother in the first chapter of Sheraton's memoir, Eating My Words: An Appetite for Life (Morrow, hardcover, $23.95). "A man invests a lot of money and a builds a beautiful restaurant and has a family to support. He has customers and everything is fine, until one day, in walks Big Mouth."
No-pork clause doesn't keep Big John's from going whole hog
By By Scott Sharot
Barbecue is never an easy topic of discussion. Regional variations in the sauce ingredients or the cooking method, the type of wood used in the smoking, and even the style of the side dishes can cause a major food fight. Most comfort foods, especially barbecue, have roots that go deep into our family trees. We like it our way and that becomes the right way. I'll admit I'm very attached to my own homemade barbecue sauce and when it comes to potato salad, my mother's hallowed recipe sets the standard. So, I'm pleased to report that Albuquerque is graced with a new barbecue restaurant that serves sauce and potato salad that both pass muster, at least with me.
Angry Film—Self-proclaimed “angry filmmaker” Kelley Baker will be at the Guild Cinema on Thursday, Feb. 17, to screen his latest DV feature Kicking Bird. Baker has toured the country for the last two years conducting filmmaking workshops, screening his films, giving guest lectures and otherwise preaching the gospel of nonHollywood cinema. In addition to his own work, he's served as a sound designer on films like Good Will Hunting, To Die For, Far from Heaven and more. Kicking Bird tells the story of a 17-year-old white trash kid who finds his only escape in running and the manipulative high school track coach who sees a use for our foot-pounding protagonist. The screening starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $6 for everyone.
Given the evidence at hand, there's no discernible reason why Constantine should do anything other than suck quietly in its own forgotten little corner of the cineplex. It's based on a comic book, a genre of filmmaking that occasionally gives us memorable entertainment such as Spider-Man, but is far more likely to result in brain-rotting eye-candy like Catwoman and Elektra. It's a horror movie coming out in the middle of one of the worst strings of horror flicks Hollywood has ever inflicted upon us (White Noise, Hide and Seek, Alone in the Dark, Boogeyman). Finally, it stars Keanu Reeves, an actor for whom I normally reserve my most clever insults.
Some films just beg for a sequel (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Godfather, Star Wars). I'm not so sure The Mask is one of those movies. Although it raked in $119 million at the box office, it didn't make a particularly lasting impression on our culture. When you think about it, what did the film really have going for it? It had Cameron Diaz looking cute. It had Jim Carrey acting wacky in green makeup. But can you even recall the story? I can't and I get paid for this kinda stuff. ... So, 11 years after the fact, it's a little odd to be confronted with Son of the Mask.
Apparently, actor Seth Green (star of the Austin Powers movies, among others) is a big toy collector. At some point in his life, he met up with Matthew Senreich, a writer for “ToyFare” magazine. The two became fast friends and, over the course of one drunken evening (I'm only guessing at this point), they came up with the concept for a particularly warped sketch comedy cartoon called “Robot Chicken.” The folks at Cartoon Network, being drunken weirdoes themselves (again, only speculating), snapped at the idea and are now airing the amusingly bizarre results in their Adult Swim block.
In Burque-Native-Done-Good news, former Albuquerque resident and current Nashvillian Jenny Farrell will compete beginning Tuesday, March 1, for a record deal as a contestant on the third season of USA Network's reality TV series “Nashville Star.” The ultimate winner of this particular reality series is chosen exclusively by the television audience, so you know what you have to do, folks. Look for more on the story and an exclusive interview with Farrell in next week's Alibi. ... In Bad-for-You-Albquerque news, according to an Albuquerque Journal article that appeared last Saturday, Mayor Martin Chavez intends to draft an ordinance preventing all-ages shows from taking place at Downtown venues, specifically the Sunshine Theater and Launchpad. Citing recent violent incidents Downtown, Mayor Marty has somehow convinced himself that it's the kids causing the trouble while turning a blind eye to the actual source of trouble in the city's most engaging entertainment district. If the city is going to ban all ages shows at Downtown venues, then our government officials should follow their own precedent and outlaw alcohol sales from events such as Summerfest, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, The New Mexico State Fair, Isotopes baseball games, Scorpions hockey games, shows at Journal Pavilion and countless other events and locations where booze and kids mingle freely. At least the Sunshine and Launchpad shows separate the under-21 crowd from the over-21 set that choose to drink. Look for an Alibi feature coming soon.
Toad, with the likes of bands such as REM, fall into a category all their own. They really didn't fit into the alternative rock scene that dominated most of the '90s, yet I wouldn't classify them as adult contemporary. Toad possess a certain attractive quality that is hard to explain. Their analytical songs are comfort music for the cynic. However, their newest live effort is somewhat disappointing. They lack the charisma found in their earlier efforts, Fear and Dulcinea in particular. Toad's live performance is effortless in every sense of the word. The tired vocals and lack-luster music make this album one to forget.
Director Preston Mendenhall has brought one of sweet William Shakespeare's last and most obscure plays to the Adobe Theatre. Cymbeline mixes comedy, tragedy and romance into a fairytale-like story about a princess who marries a young man of whom her father, Cymbeline, does not approve. This act of disobedience sets in motion an intricate series of schemes, intrigues, battles and betrayals. Everyone except the villains live happily ever after. Cymbeline runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Sundays at 2 p.m. $12 general, $10 students/seniors. 898-9222.
This isn't the Montagues and the Capulets. It isn't even the Hatfields and the McCoys. The battle between two seriously screwed-up families in Sam Shephard's A Lie of the Mind is even darker and more deranged than either of those infamous feuds.
This month's Artscrawl gallery tour kicks off this Friday evening, Feb. 18, with a celebration of Route 66's historic neon signage at El Rey Theater (622 Central SW). This event will include a screening of the award-winning documentary Neon Road. From there, make your way to galleries on and around the Central Avenue corridor. There will be new shows at places like Sauce Liquid Lounge, SolArts, the New Fisher Gallery and the Mariposa Gallery. It all starts at 5 p.m. and runs 'til around 9 p.m. For details, call 244-0362 or log onto www.artscrawlabq.org.
This month's Poetry and Beer event at the Golden West Saloon (619 Central SW) hosts the Siren's Iris Poetry Tour on Wednesday, Feb. 23, at 7:30 p.m. It's been said of Suzy La Follette that "she could spit a poem through a brick wall." Likewise, her partner in poetry, Andrea Gibson, brings some seething radical politics to her performances. They're both some of the best spoken word artists currently at work in America. Poetry freaks won't want to miss this one. $3. For more information, call 254-2285.
When Brenda Hollingsworth-Pickett was a little girl growing up in Salt Lake City, Utah she somehow got her hands on a miniature puppet theater. "It had little green curtains," she says, "with a jester in front." She isn't quite sure where the theater came from, but it quickly became the focus of her attention.
Alibi's Second Annual Valentine's Day Card Contest
By Steven Robert Allen
Yes, as you might expect, lots of Alibi readers are cynics with icy hearts. (Actually, that description applies to most of the Alibi staff as well.) Even the iciest heart, though, would melt in the blazing oven of love that was our Second Annual Valentine's Day Card Contest.
Out on the north side of Avenida César Chávez and sandwiched between the Isotopes Stadium and the city tennis complex is a patch of land with potential. Or, to put it another way, it's a vacant lot comprised of rolling dirt piles and scattered chamisa that some day soon could be transformed into a world-class bicycle park.
Traffic calming measures rile some residents' nerves
By Jim Scarantino
Lately, in Four Hills every day is hump day.
If you commute from Four Hills you probably recognize this sound. It goes: "Whump ... whump ... whump ... whump ... whump ... whump ... whump ... whump ... whump." That's not a bass line to gangsta rap, nor failing CV joints. It's the sound of passing over nine—count that, nine—traffic humps installed by the city in September at the entrance to Four Hills Village. Four Hills is the only community in Albuquerque, other than private gated communities, with just one way in and out. You take Four Hills Road off Central, then the road splits at the entrance to Four Hills Village. The right fork is Wagon Train Drive, with nine speed humps in six tenths of a mile. Double that for each roundtrip.
Mountains are well known for harboring secrets—a snippet of folklore that Bill Henderson is well aware of, considering that he comes from a long line of mountain dwellers, six generations worth, to be exact. Henderson's tie to the San Pedro Mountains began when his great-grandfather settled in Golden, N.M., along the Turquoise Trail between Sandia Park and Madrid, as a coal miner in the late 1800s. He had a succession of sons, who, one by one, followed him into the mines; and who, like him, offered their lives over to the mountain.
Here's a riddle for you: If you call someone who sees a crisis when there isn't one there, “Chicken Little,” and you call someone who yells about crises just to get attention, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” what do you call someone who makes up a phony crisis while ignoring a real one biting his butt?
Dateline: Holland—A group of homeless people are having a little fun in the sun thanks to a faulty ATM. The homeless people were given special state social security cash cards which allow them to take out up to $150 at a time. But a computer glitch at a Fortis Bank cash machine in Rotterdam allowed them to withdraw an unrestricted amount of money, the newspaper de Volkskrant reported. Amounts ranging from $450 to nearly $20,000 ended up being taken out by a group of at least 20 homeless people, and police believe that many of the people involved have gone on vacation with the money. An official with the Pauluskerk homeless shelter in Rotterdam said, “Those who took out large amounts of money have probably left the country and are sunning themselves on a beach in Spain.” More than $100,000 is missing from the Fortis Bank.
Valentine's Day is approaching and I'm charged with writing about all of the delightful dinners restaurants have planned to lure lovers. But all I can think about is Matt Brewer, who died last week, and how he once told me he hated to have Café Bodega open on a holiday. “Amateur night,” he grumbled over the phone, and I laughed. I could picture him shaking his head as he half-heartedly groused about all the unfamiliar faces filing into local restaurants on Valentine's, New Year's, Mother's Day. By amateurs, he meant people who don't usually eat at restaurants like his. They always wanted substitutions, the chef groused, and didn't tip well, which pissed off the wait staff. No, all in all it was a pain and he preferred not to do it. I think Brewer just got a lot of satisfaction from cooking for his regulars, the devoted folks who had followed him to Bodega from Café de las Placitas. This year he had planned on serving on Valentine's Day, even though it fell on a Monday, when the restaurant would normally be closed. He just wasn't going to advertise it, in hopes that the dining room would fill up with regulars.
Happy Chinese New Year! It's the year of the cock and I, for one, have decided it's high time we all started taking the Chinese zodiac a little more seriously. So forget Valentine's Day—I'll be eating kung pao chicken all weekend long, and I suggest you do the same. May you all have wealth and prosper.
Albuquerque lost one of its best chefs last week with the untimely death of Matt Brewer, owner of Café Bodega (4243 Montgomery NE). Matt grew up in Farmington, and used to joke that he was headed for a career as a professional bowler until he discovered food. After several years at various restaurant jobs in Albuquerque, where he worked his way up to become chef at Café Oceana, Scalo and Prairie Star, Brewer migrated west. After graduating from the California Culinary Institute, he was mentored by Chef Cory Schreibner at San Francisco's Cypress Club. Schreibner introduced him to the rigors of California's nouvelle cuisine, a movement which combined the freshest possible local produce and proteins with international ingredients, in uncommon combinations.
Nothing warms up a cold winter evening like a nice hot sausage
By Gwyneth Doland
Every time we'd drive up to my grandparents' farm, my folks would make a point of stopping at Moore's general store. If you're picturing something out of a Country Time lemonade commercial, you've got just the right idea. It was a dusty old clapboard building, with squeaky floor boards, a slamming screen door and one of those big old Coca-Cola coolers with tall bottles and real ice inside. In the back, of the store, Mr. Moore could be found behind a big, white enameled meat case, with a motor that purred as softly as a diesel tractor. Mr. Moore made sausage, sweet (meaning mild) and hot Italian. We chose sweet, and bought enough for dinner at the farm, plus a few extra links to take back to the city with us. It was good stuff.
Cast Me!—Warner Brothers is combing our fair state for extras and stand-ins for its new drama (formerly titled Class Action) starring Charlize Theron, Sissy Spacek, Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sean Bean. The film, directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider), will be filmed in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Vegas from March 21 to April 29. Casting will take place on Saturday, Feb. 12, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Garson Studios/Stage A on the College of Santa Fe campus (1600 St. Michael's Drive). Casting directors are looking for Anglo males and females ages 18-60. Photos and resumes are welcome. Remember me when you make it big.
Years ago, Will Smith was crowned the King of July 4th. A proven box office heavyweight since the days of Independence Day, Smith has all but owned the summer cineplexes over the crucial 4th of July weekend. Last summer's Smith vehicle, I, Robot, managed to turn a profit; but it was hardly the runaway hit the studio was expecting. In the wake of that multimillion dollar stumble, fans might find themselves a tad concerned that 2005's Will Smith offering, Hitch, is steering far clear of the summer blockbuster season, opening up in the midst of the late-winter, pre-Oscar doldrums. Has the Fresh Prince lost his mojo?
Well, it was a clean and wholesome Super Bowl, I'll concede that point, but it certainly wasn't the most exciting of “Idiot Box” events. After a year of controversy and outrage over farting horses, Viagra commercials and Janet Jackson's infamous nipple ring, Super Bowl XXXIX arrived with as much skunk-eyed government scrutiny as you can get without being a Iraqi tourist with a one-way ticket to Washington, D.C., and a ticking carry-on.
Cheesy sword and sorcery sequel takes us back to the '80s
By Kurly Tlapoyawa
Deathstalker II (1986)
Alright, I'll admit it—I was one of those dorks who wasted countless hours of my childhood playing Dungeons and Dragons with my fellow nerds. It didn't take long for my obsession with all things fantasy to explode into a geeky gumbo of action figures, novels, T-shirts and movies. In fact, it was a self-declared quest to see every damn fantasy film ever made which led to my renting a video called Deathstalker one fateful Friday night--and the results were less than satisfying.
You see, Deathstalker was nothing more than a half-assed attempt to copy the success of the far superior Conan the Barbarian, directed by John Milius. The budget was sparse, the acting was nonexistent, and the action looked like it had been choreographed by two drunks trying to poke each other in the eyes with sticks. The film was quickly swept away into the dustbin of my mind.
Wanna rock in the movies? Kathy Brink Casting is looking for a “white pop/rock/R&B band” for a Warner Bros. movie scheduled to be shot in the Albuquerque/Santa Fe area between March 21 and April 29. The flick is rumored to star Charlize Theron, among other Hollywood bigwigs. Interested? Shoot me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not call me. And no, I'm not the one who narrowed the search down to white bands only. ... Congratulations to the Oktober People, who are the only local band so far to have been officially invited to showcase at this year's South By Southwest Music Conference (according to the SXSW website, anyway) in Austin next month. Our fingers are crossed for the rest of you who submitted entries. ... In rock-u-mentary news, filmmaker Rob Nakai has finished a DVD documentary on local band Fast Heart Mart, which includes live footage, interviews and photos of the band assembled over the past five years of their existence. You can order your very own copy for a paltry 10 bucks at www.kronikindustries.com. A new CD from the band is due sometime next month. Visit http://www.myspace.com/fastheartmart for updates.
Peter Rowan and Tony Rice tour in support of their first full-fledged album as a duo
Though they've spent plenty of time on the road together over the years, Americana icons Peter Rowan and Tony Rice had never made a full album together until late last year, when they entered the studio together with Billy and Bryn Bright on mandolin and double bass respectively to record You Were There for Me (Rounder). It's an album that begs the question, “What took you guys so long?” Indeed, the pairing seems as natural as Lennon and McCartney, Simon and Garfunkel, Flatt and Skruggs, peanut butter and chocolate.
Saturday, Feb. 12; South Broadway Cultural Center (all ages, 7 p.m.): Traditional Irish music continues to gather steam here in the United States. And, in large part, it's due to the near-constant emergence of high quality solo performers and groups. Add Téada (pronounced tay-da) to the latter list. The quintet have released a pair of remarkable albums on Green Linnet since forming in 2001, but they began serious and international touring only recently.
Barcelona's Ojos de Brujo's international debut, Bari, very nearly made my 2004 Top 20 list. This EP, featuring six remixed tracks from said record, probably won't make the 2005 list, but it's still a worthy, eclectic adventure through rumba catalana dressed as coked-up club music for steely eyed corporate sluts who like to cut loose after-hours. Almost all of the sincerity and traditional feel that made Bari so accessible has been effectively torched off by breakbeats and trippy loops, but Remezclas ... still manages to sound exotic and ready-made for the next Matrix-like film Hollywood is bound to churn out momentarily.
The folks that brought you New Mexico Books and More—a temporary Cottonwood Mall coop that sold local books during last year's holiday season—are planning a giant book fair at the mall on Saturday, May 7. The event will occur from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the day before Mother's Day, traditionally a packed shopping day at the mall.
A Trio of Alternative Valentine's Day Celebrations
By Steven Robert Allen
Dreading the yearly barrage of weenie Hallmark sentiments? Concerned about the pit of romantic loathing welling up in your intestines? Feeling like your skin is covered in a mucous-like layer of treacle? Have no fear, dear Alibi readers. Innovative romantics around Albuquerque have devised several clever alternatives to the clichéd red roses and chocolate Valentine tradition of yesteryear.
Juli Etheridge's outrageous one-woman monster comedy, Rot, opens this weekend at the Tricklock Performance Space. Directed by fellow Tricklockers Byron Laurie and Elsa Menendez, Etheridge plays 10 different characters in a theatrical story that combines love, horror and plenty of pee-in-your-pants giggling. The show opens with a catered gala this Friday, Feb. 11, and runs through Feb. 27. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Sundays at 6 p.m. $12 general, $9 students/seniors. 254-8393.
The Fusion Theatre Company opens its 2005 season with a new production of Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind at the Cell Theatre (700 First Street NW). Directed by Jacqueline Reed, this alcohol-drenched tale about two intertwined families stars some fine local talent and should be well worth the price of admission. Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at 2 p.m. $22 general, $17 students/seniors. The Feb. 10 opening features a reception beginning at 7 p.m. with curtain at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays (excluding opening) feature a $10 student rush and a $15 actor rush. Runs through March 6. 766-9412.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón's novel The Shadow of the Wind (Penguin, paper, $15) will feel hauntingly familiar to anyone who's ever fallen in love with a book. Published in Spain in 2001, Zafón's novel has sold two million copies and been translated into almost 40 languages. In the process, the author—a former screenwriter born and raised in Barcelona, Spain—has unwittingly developed an almost cult-like following. It isn't hard to see why. The Shadow of the Wind is the kind of book its followers carry around with them wherever they go, giving away copies to strangers in the street in the same way aspiring preachers might give away copies of the New Testament.
Obesity is a preventable cause of death that has become a plague on New Mexico's children. So why is junk food being served at our public schools?
By Story and sidebars by Gwyneth Doland and Alison Fields
Face it: As a nation, we're fat and it's killing us. Over the past few decades, changes in the way Americans live, work and eat have made obesity a preventable cause of death that is second only to smoking. While parents, teachers, doctors, lawyers and government agencies have all gone to great pains to educate, legislate, forbid and otherwise appropriately demonize smoking, by bad example, ignorance and neglect on the subject of nutrition and exercise, we are raising a generation of children who are not expected to live as long as their parents.
At the start of 2005, Albuquerque Public Schools began a five-month Wellness Pilot Project. For students at 18 elementary and middle schools involved in the program, the most obvious change will be the snacks sold in vending machines and the hours during which the machines will be available. Elementary school vending machines will only dispense bottled water during the school day. In middle schools, Pepsi's vending machines are limited to water and juice and milk beverages. In all participating schools, vending machine snacks must comply with new nutrition standards—meaning kids will choose from things like pretzels and granola bars rather than tortilla chips and cookies.
There are many issues, besides food in schools, that the Legislature is tacking during this session. Legislators want to know what you think, what will make you happy and what will make you re-elect them. So call early and often.
Several weeks ago, I reported in this column on the formation of another new locally-based regional label, Detach Records, and their “coming out” part at the Launchpad featuring live performances by bands on their roster. As of this week, the Detach crew have released their first official longplayer, the third record by Austin's The Onlys, titled Limbic System. Look for a review of the album in a coming issue. In the meantime, check it out for yourself at your nearest independent record store. ... As part of its “Latin Diva” concert series, the National Hispanic Cultural Center will present world beat/reggae/Latin jazz sensations Kátia Moraes & Sambaguru Friday, Feb. 4. Call 724-4771 or visit www.nhccnm.org for tickets, time and more information. ... Local band The Ground Beneath recently began working on an album, which they say should be completed over the next few months. They've also uploaded seven live MP3 tracks that can be downloaded for free at www.thegroundbeneath.com. The band also report that they've been in contact with Fred Durst's (Limp Bizkit frontman/shithead) management and that “big things” are perhaps in the works on the moving-up-the-music business-ladder department. ... If you haven't bought your copy of the brand new Shine Cherries self-titled debut, what the fuck are you waiting for?
The music is gentle and meditative, with expansive soundscapes that softly explore the more reclusive aspects of human consciousness. Featuring the cello of Elaine Kreston, the disc also draws on the multi-dimensional talents of co-composer Ray Regan, whose artworks, soundworks and video bridge the natural and digital dimensions.
Saturday, Feb. 8; Sunshine Theater (21 and over, 7:30 p.m.): Admittedly, I don't generally consider the Dave Matthews/John Mayer/Matchbox 20 set as my proverbial bag. But I've also got to admit that there are certain days—certain moods on certain days, actually—on which music by that particular singer-songwriter subset and the artists it encompasses seems absolutely perfect. Add to those artists Georgia-based roots rocker Michael Tolcher, whose debut, I Am (Octone) proves that the age of soaring pop melodies and rock-driven, folktastic songwriting are still alive and well both inside and outside the mainstream.
At least a full decade before electronica, techno and ambient were officially declared genres, the music that defined them was lumped in the new age category and, therefore, unfortunately stigmatized as bullshit background music for tofu-eaters looking to get their yoga on. French electronicist Jean Michel Jarre's earliest and best work was among the falsely imprisoned. Fast-forward to the '90s and bands such as Stereolab, High Llamas, St. Etienne, Air and countless others. What was then considered to be the latest craze was actually a co-opting of Jarre's pioneering work in electronic music. Listen, learn—this is whence it came.
Being a space case isn't necessarily a bad thing. This will be especially true this weekend when the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra (NMSO) joins forces with the LodeStar Astronomy Center for a performance that should please classical music enthusiasts and space geeks alike.
Even out here in the heart of Indian Country, a lot of people harbor garishly distorted ideas about Native Americans. Albuquerque might be sandwiched between two Pueblo reservations, but for many Anglos knowledge of Native America begins and ends with buying slabs of fry bread at the State Fair and maybe the occasional fake arrowhead crudely mass-produced in some factory south of the border.
Sometimes one David just isn't enough. Michelangelo's David, he of the giant hands, has been around for 500 years now. To celebrate this momentous occasion, a bunch of local artists have each made new art that incorporates, in one way or another, images of Michelangelo's famous sculpture. Some pieces are heartfelt tributes. Some are hilarious satires. Many are impossible to categorize. A reception for 500 Davids will be held Friday, Feb. 4, from 5 to 9 p.m. at Galeria Artopia (5100 Constitution NE), a gallery located in the home of Allan Rosenfield. The show runs through March 12. 254-0504.
In the immortal words of the J. Geils Band: "Love stinks!" Everyone at one time or another has been made to suffer at the chubby, pink but surprisingly agile hands of that deceptively cute cherry-cheeked bastard, Eros. Musical Theatre Southwest gives viewers an opportunity to laugh at other people's romantic misery with its remounted production of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, which originally ran at the Cell Theatre back in 2003. The show runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. in the Ana Chavira Theatre. $20 general, $18 students/seniors. 262-9301.
Many of us may not be old enough to remember the Doodlebug, despite the fact that for years the quaint and colorful commuter rail passed in and out of our city—transporting workers, students and families from Belen to Albuquerque and back again. One of many southwestern trains, it earned its moniker through a whimsical resemblance to the bug of the same name (in that it tirelessly dashed from city to city), and began its daily commutes in 1934. It was beloved by the folks who graced its seats and inspired many a young mother to require that her children dress in their Sunday finery before climbing on board. Yet, alas, after World War II, funding for the rail line trailed off, going instead to the more novel business of road-building—and, despite protests from the community, the Belen to Albuquerque Doodlebug made its last stop on April 9, 1968.
Au contraire, indeed. If you caught President Bush's live press conference on KOB-770 AM last week like I did, you heard this question from Jeff Gannon, Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent for some outfit called Talon News. After the president selected “Jeff,” this question followed: "Senate Democratic leaders have painted a very bleak picture of the U.S. economy. Harry Reid [D-NV] was talking about soup lines. And Hillary Clinton [D-NY] was talking about the economy being on the verge of collapse. Yet in the same breath they say that Social Security is rock solid and there's no crisis there. How are you going to work—you've said you are going to reach out to these people—how are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?"
About a quarter of the $26 million raised by the city's voter-approved public safety tax was supposed to go toward preventing crime, helping kids before they get into trouble and giving a hand to victims of violence, abuse and addiction. The rest was tagged for police and firefighters.
Dateline: Portugal—Police didn't have to work too hard to crack the case of junior gangster Marco Guerra. The 17-year-old criminal apparently set up a Web page that featured photos of him posing with a machine gun along with cash he had obtained through crime. The site also listed Guerra's full name and telephone number. Guerra told the newsweekly Sabado that he was charged with illegal possession of firearms and drugs after police searched the room he occupies in his parents house in suburban Lisbon. “The police came and they took everything: the gun, a cap and the shotgun,” marveled Guerra. “They took the computer and now I don't have access to the Internet anymore.” Guerra's site included pictures of the teen holding a 9 mm handgun, carrying a rifle and waving a machine gun in the air, as well as shots of him posing at a table full of cash and marijuana. “Through illegal or obscure deals you can live really well,” Guerra's site advised. Guerra now faces up to three years in jail for the illegal possession of arms and another two years for the possession of drugs.
New Year, Same Problems—The People Before Profit film/lecture series at the Peace & Justice Center (202 Harvard SE) kicks off 2004 with Bush Family Fortunes. This English documentary trails the Bush family, from the Florida election fraud to the Saudi connection. It's based on Greg Palast's hard-hitting investigative reports for the BBC and the UK's Guardian and on his bestselling book The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. The screening will begin at 7 p.m. Entrance is free, but seating is limited.
Asian art house offering studiously contemplates its own navel
By Devin D. O'Leary
While movies about the art of moviemaking are fairly common (just look at this year's The Aviator), movies about the art of watching movies are fairly rare. Giuseppe Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso is pretty much the capstone of this largely untenanted genre. A nostalgic portrait of growing up in a movie theater and loving cinema in its purest form, Cinema Paradiso examines what it's like to be a viewer, a passive participant captured by the flickering magic of a movie projector.
February is an amazing month, television-wise. First of all, it's Sweeps, which means the networks will be straining their budgets to shoehorn big celebrity guest stars into each and every sitcom. Secondly, February now boasts the two biggest TV viewing days of the entire year. Later this month, we get the Oscars, and this very weekend, the worlds of sports and television come together to deliver nothing less than the Super Bowl.
Have you seen this new thing where they're selling packets of Crystal Light drink powder next to bottled water at convenience stores? What an interesting idea. I suppose they're marketing the single-serving tubes of Peach Tea and Raspberry Ice to thirsty women dieters who are already familiar with the Crystal Light non-carbonated, low-calorie beverage concept, trying to get them to drink Raspberry Ice water instead of plain old Aquafina. I see only two problems: First, they already sell Crystal Light beverages in plastic bottles, right next to Aquafina. Second, you'd have to drink Raspberry Ice-flavored Crystal Light. Why choose artificially-flavored water over water-flavored water? If I want my water to be exciting, I'll have a half-dressed 22-year-old weight-lifter spank me while I drink it. You'd think these marketing geniuses could use their time more wisely. Why can't they make beer crystals and sell the powdered brew in baby formula-sized cans? Oh yeah, because it would probably taste like ass, and you'd still have to pick a million red party cups out of the backyard bushes. That's why they make kegs: so you don't have to buy so many cans. Oh, and kegs always have a way of attracting a fresh crop of 22 year-old weight lifters.
Scalo has a new owner. Steve Paternoster was general manager and a part owner of the Nob Hill restaurant from 1993 until leaving and selling his stake in 1999. Since then Paternoster has had his hand in several different ventures, including Sun Country Chile and Honey, whose sopapilla syrup is under fire in this section this week.
The honey substitute you didn't know you've been eating
By Gwyneth Doland
I came into work the other day to find a single-serving packet of Sopapilla Syrup sitting on my keyboard. Hmm, Sopapilla Syrup. What is this stuff? The ingredients are printed right on the packet: High fructose corn syrup, sugar, honey, corn syrup, natural flavor, caramel color. Good God. Fake honey.