1882—In previous years, carnivals occasionally came through Albuquerque featuring hot air balloons. In 1882, however, a local saloon owner named Park A. VanTassel used coal gas to fill a 30,000-cubic-foot balloon. Over the two days it took to fill the balloon, enthusiastic coal gas customers volunteered to go without gas service. On July 4, VanTassel floated above the city, marking the first hot air balloon ascension by a local in Albuquerque history.
Here's the whole enchilada—a full roster of Fiesta events that includes descriptions of a few special happenings that might not be self-explanatory. Tear this out and staple it to your chest for easy reference.
Entrance to Balloon Fiesta Park is $6 general, free for kids under 12. You can buy advanced tickets in packs of five for $25. General parking is $5 per car. An all-event parking pass costs $30. (The Fiesta's park-and-ride service will save you a lot of stress. Details at aibf.org.) To order tickets over the phone, call (888) 422-7277 ext. 303. Keep in mind if you're a cheapskate that there will be lots of good views of balloons located all over town where you won't have to pay a dime.
Want to go for a ride yourself? All paid balloon rides are coordinated through Rainbow Ryders, 823-1111. Also, if you volunteer as a member of a balloon chase crew, you might be able to milk a freebie out of a pilot. You can register at the park or online at the Balloon Fiesta website. For more information, go to aibf.org or call 821-1000.
Anyone who thinks city elections don't matter, or that they pale in comparison to national politics, hasn't been paying attention. Truth is, they're probably even more important than the glorified, glossy presidential elections that harangue us every four years, replete with spin-doctors, million-dollar TV ads and men behind the proverbial curtain. They also allow you to exert much more influence as a voter.
Regrettably, councilors failed to conduct their business in buccaneer lingo on International Talk Like a Pirate Day, Sept. 19. But they didn't completely forego lusty swordplay. Councilor Debbie O'Malley asked why the $500,000-plus for the Tricentennial Towers the city is building at the I-40 and Rio Grande intersection didn't come before the Council. John Castillo of the Municipal Development Dept. said the money came from a variety of sources, including G.O. bonds, rather than the 1 percent for the arts funding overseen by the Council.
Ten days before the polls close on the City of Albuquerque's 2005 election season, an eerie quiet cloaks the campaign. By the time you read this piece, it is possible all hell will have broken loose, but I've given up waiting around for that to happen. I guess our mayoral challengers this year are just too nice to turn up the heat under this pot.
Dateline: Japan—A 32-year-old Japanese woman who called police to report an unreliable hit man was arrested last Wednesday for incitement to murder. The Daily Yomiuri newspaper reported on Friday that the unnamed woman contacted a private detective through a website last November and paid him $9,000 in cash to murder her lover's wife. The 40-year-old detective accepted the money and suggested he would carry out the job by chasing the victim on a motorcycle and spraying her with a biological agent in a tunnel. Police also arrested the private detective and found the alleged target unharmed, the newspaper said.
Listening to the KUNM call in show last Thursday morning while getting ready for work, I perfected the art of brushing my teeth with various degrees of intensity, at times stopping completely in order to hear what was being said. The living wage, pros and cons, yadda yadda, we've heard all the arguments ... or so I thought.
The door's open but the ride it ain't free
And I know you're lonely
For words I ain't spoken
But tonight we’ll be free
All the promises'll be broken
–“Thunder Road” by Bruce Springsteen
I have always yearned to be a judge, a news anchor or a high school girls' volleyball coach. Why? Because these are careers that do not require pants. Judges have robes, anchors have desks and the coaches get probation. Thankfully, pants are essential to American politics. And it isn't just because without them the only thing between you and molten retinas is the lectern on C-SPAN.
The slacks don't make the slacker—the pockets do. No pants, no pockets. No pockets, no ... Hey! Get your hand out of there.
Cajun Invasion in the Land of Enchantment—Washed out of Louisiana, the feature film The Flock is pulling up stakes and moving to New Mexico. The project will bring crew members with it from Louisiana and will employ an additional 72 New Mexicans.
Party Hard and Help, N'Awlins Style—It probably won't help your hangover any, but going Downtown this Thursday, Sept. 29, might just make you feel a whole lot better about the world. That's because when you buy a $5 wristband from a participating bar (Maloney's, Sauce/Raw, OPM, Ned's, The Library or the Launchpad), you'll effectively donate your cash to the American Red Cross Katrina Relief Fund. Plus, it's all Mardi Gras-themed, so you might catch sight of some boobs in the name of charity. (LM)
Saturday, Oct. 1, at 8 p.m.; National Hispanic Cultural Center (all-ages): Reggaeton is hot right now, people. There's no way you haven't heard it—either on "Latino and Proud" Mega 104.1 FM, or pouring out from vehicles that are ... uh, tuned to Mega 104.1 FM. Essentially, the genre is a combination of fierce dancehall reggae, electronic beats and rapid-fire Spanish rap. The end result is reggaeton's signature "dem bow" sound—a clubby, understated shuffle that has the power to make young people of all national origins get nasty. Hot! Surely this hypnotic backbeat is the secret weapon of Pokoloko, a hunky bilingual threesome who've gotten great acclaim for their "machine gun-style" reggaeton. Honestly, I have yet to lay ears upon them—but why should I have to? Just look at Machete's glistening, rock-hard abs! And, mira! You cannot escape Axion's bulging biceps, nor can you shake Alex-J's intense "I want u, girl" gaze. I'm already overcome with the urge to "shake it." I must ... get ... down. Tickets for Pokoloko are $10, $15 and $20 (with a $5 NHCC member discount available) at the NHCC Box Office, Ticketmaster locations, and at Ticketmaster.com. For additional show information, contact the NHCC at 724-4771 or email@example.com.
The Detach Records Showcase this Friday at Burt's Tiki Lounge is sure to be brimming with independent rock music and perhaps even a few sea shanties. We recently forced this pop quiz on Detach band The Mindy Set. Next, I will force them to dance a jig.
"It's not ratted, it's feathered," say hellion hair-hoppers Scenester, Shoulder Voices and Romeo Goes to Hell. Well, whatever you call it, it's a hair don't.
Stick a Cork in It—South Valley artist and humanitarian Corky Frausto opens up his spacious hacienda this weekend for the second annual CorkFest, a full day of art, music and assorted entertainment. It's a DIY backyard art festival designed to shine a spotlight on some of the best local artistry currently being concocted in our city.
This year has already seen a pestilence of floods, fires, bombings, plane crashes, a tsunami that killed almost a quarter million people, and this nation's worst natural disaster. It would seem that Mother Nature and our own bad selves have trumped the ability to imagine anything bigger or worse. Fittingly, the fall and winter of this publishing season are notably thin on fiction, but large on hulking works of nonfiction that might help us catch up with this out-of-control bobsled called planet Earth. Here are a few soon-
For all of you out there who crave the early holiday 411, here's the skinny on a fat seasonal store, the New Mexico Food and Gift Showcase. Pivotal vendor Debi Barnes, purveyor of Uncle Mabe's Barbeque Sauce, assures us that their holiday haven will be packed to the rafters with local goodies like salsas, sauces, coffees, jellies and jams, spices, seasonings, soup and dip mixes, and the list goes on. With upwards of 500 products from 60 vendors, there's probably something for everyone. (At least for the people who really dig green chile-roasted nuts and chipotle jelly.) The shop is located in Cottonwood Mall's lower level, between Foley's and the M.V.D. We asked Barnes if there was a downside to being in the holiday goodie business, to which she gave a Santa-esque belly laugh and said, "Yes—when you get Habañero up your nose." The Showcase is scheduled to open on Oct. 28, and will disappear like Christmas fudge by Dec. 31.