The president of El Salvador, Tony Saca, was in town last week, pumping hard for support for the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). His audience at a breakfast at the Hispanic Cultural Center was the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, one in a two-week cavalcade of infomercials and pep rallies across the country.
Dateline: Russia—A Russian astrologer named Marina Bai wants nearly $250 million in damages from NASA for upsetting the balance of the universe. According to Russia's Pravda news site, Bai believes that NASA's Deep Impact space probe, due to smash into the Tempel 1 comet on July 4, is a “terrorist act.” NASA scientists hope the mission will reveal what comets are made of when they observe the probe's impact. In addition to disturbing the movement of cosmic forces, Bai believes that the comet impact is also a personal assault on her grandparents, as the comet heralded the beginning of their relationship. One court has already thrown out the case on the grounds that Russia has no legal jurisdiction over the American space agency. Bai's lawyer has taken the case to a higher court which is debating if NASA is in fact representing Russia through the U.S. embassy in Moscow.
Latino Lecture—As part of the National Hispanic Cultural Center's ongoing Latino/Hispanic Film Conference, this Thursday, May 19, will feature a free film screening followed by a Q&A lecture. The film screening will be of The Bronze Screen: 100 Years of the Latino Image in Hollywood. This showbiz documentary, narrated by actress Wanda De Jesus (The Insider), interviews such notables as Rubén Blades, John Leguizamo, Ricardo Montalban, Rita Moreno, Raquel Welch and Edward James Olmos. It explores the largely untold story of Latinos in the American motion picture industry--from the “Latin lover” stereotype in silent films to the more complex characters explored by today's Latino filmmakers. The film's screenwriter, Susan Racho, will be on hand for the Q&A. Tickets are a mere $6 and can be purchased at the door of the Bank of America Film Theatre (1701 Fourth Street SW). Screening begins at 7 p.m. For more info, log on to www.hccnm.org.
The abundance (and variety) of musical talent that Albuquerque has to offer never ceases to amaze me. When I first moved here from the Philadelphia area, I couldn't believe how many local bands there were. What's more, I couldn't believe how many good local bands there were. Sometimes Albuquerque feels like a mini-Seattle or Little Austin; and it's just a matter of time before our favorite local bands are swept up to some other place for bigger and more profitable things. Don't we miss the days when bands like The Shins, Stoic Frame or Eric McFadden (to name a few) played here every weekend? Sure we do. But let's dry our eyes and look to the future. This Saturday, three of Albuquerque's hottest homegrown talents will take to the Launchpad stage for a night of pure local magic.
QOTSA's newest album, Lullabies to Paralyze, necessarily begs comparison to their preceding mainstream darling, Songs for the Deaf. Yet while the subtraction of Grohl, Oliveri, and, for the most part, Lanegan, does account for a shift in the band's sound, this is still the rock of Gibraltar. Passionate, intense and skilled instrumentation, along with Joshua Homme's lush vocals, coupled with guest appearances by Billy Gibbons, Shirley Manson and Brodie Dahl make this album worth its weight in indie-rock gold. This is gorgeous, heavy, diverse and unrelenting rock 'n' roll.
Beyond the fact that they were both famous American artists, Georgia O'Keeffe and Andy Warhol don't seem to have all that much in common. O'Keeffe is deeply associated with the crusty, dry, rural Southwest, while Warhol epitomizes the hipster New York City art scene of the '60s. O'Keeffe's work is filled with natural light and natural settings, while Warhol's most famous work focuses on celebrities and household products.
I crave Tom Yum Goong, which is a delicious spicy, tart shrimp soup that's offered at most Thai restaurants. It seems complicated to make and has a lot going on, but it's really quite easy. Here's a quick and tasty version of the soup that uses duck instead of shrimp. When I'm really in a hurry I make the broth from Oriental-flavor Ramen packets (they're not bad in a pinch). I either buy Peking duck already cooked from the Oriental market, or I use frozen confit (duck legs) left over from my twice-yearly cassoulet extravaganzas. You can also use chicken, scallops or shrimp, or just vegetables instead of duck—it's all good.