Alibi V.16 No.26 • June 28-July 4, 2007

Culture Shock

Stuff Me Full of Art—La Quiche Parisienne Bistro opened about half a year ago at 401 Copper NW, a mere block from Alibi Headquarters. The bakery/restaurant is a huge blessing for Downtown. Great sandwiches, great soups, great pastries. Unfortunately, this means a mere 200 yards separates my desk from a chocolate croissant at any given moment. It's dangerous.

Pretty in Print

Alibi writing contest brings local lit to light

The Weekly Alibi is seeking submissions for the newly minted, first-ever Pretty in Print writing contest. Authors from across the state are invited to send their works of 750 words or less in any of three categories: fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry. We ask that each author submit only one piece in each category.

feature

Festival of Opinion

Speak up! Speak out! Mouth off!

Got something to say? This Saturday, at our first annual Festival of Opinions, the Alibi fights for your right to say your piece. Don't be shy. But do be brief. (Go over the time limit of two minutes per speaker and our Gong Girl, Laura, is gonna kick your ass.) Brassy neo-folksters Selsun Blue will warm things up at noon. One-man loony tunes Daddy Long Loin will cool things down at around 3 p.m. Dynamic crime-fighting duo Fast Heart Mart will show up sometime in the middle to crank out some savvy street tunes. In between musical acts, random speakers along with some specially invited guests will celebrate their right to express themselves as they see fit. Bring props. Bring costumes. Bring puppets. Most of all, bring a smokin'-hot opinion that you're burning to share with the world. It all goes down this Saturday, June 30, from noon to 4 p.m. on the Fourth Street Mall (between Central and Copper). All participants will be entered into a raffle with fabulous prizes. See ya there!

Prized Sources

Exercise your right to free information with these websites, dedicated to supporting freedom of the press.

Live Free or Die

Freedom is just another word for not getting killed, tortured or imprisoned for speaking the truth

This year we decided to celebrate Independence Day by taking a look at some of the past year's biggest threats to the free access of information. Many of these stories are about press freedoms, both here in the United States and around the world. Several are about online freedoms that have recently come under fire. A handful are about the straight-up dictatorial shutting down of access to facts.

film

Reel World

Slammin’ Selections—Warehouse 21’s annual Slam ’n’ Jam is the latest in a long history of W21-sponsored youth video slams. On Friday, June 29, at 7:30 p.m., selected films will be “slammed” in front of a live audience and a panel of judges at The Moon (formerly Club Luna at 519 Cerrillos in Santa Fe). All these short (8 minutes or less) submissions came from local filmmakers between the ages of 12 and 21. The cost is free for teens and $5 for adults. For more details, log on to www.warehouse21.org.

Summertime Cinema

DVDs for a hot day

Astronomically speaking, summer officially begins on June 21 here in North America. Economically speaking, it gets started long before that. Summer movie season, for example, has traditionally kicked off on Memorial Day weekend. The Memorial Day to Labor Day marathon now accounts for 40 percent or more of the movie industry’s annual box office. It’s no wonder movie studios, eager to milk as much cash out of summertime ticketbuyers as possible, have been inching the summer movie season further and further back. This year, the release of Spider-Man 3 on May 4 (three full weekends before Memorial Day) signaled the start of a very long, hot summer.

Ratatouille

It’s a vegetable stew made primarily with eggplant, tomatoes and zucchini--now go see the movie!

Odds are, if and when you go to the theater to see Ratatouille, the new film from Pixar Animation Studios, you’ll first be greeted by a brief sneak preview of the company’s next major feature Wall-E. That film isn’t scheduled to hit theaters until next June. But the roughly 10-second glance you’ll get of this animated fable about a lonely robot has got more charm and endearing appeal than the last six CGI films Hollywood has cranked out. Following that, you’ll get to see one of Pixar’s trademark short films—a hilarious little sci-fi romp titled “Lifted.” That film alone is worth the price you’ll pay for admission. And that’s all before the feature even starts.

Commerical Confusion

You’re selling what now?

With the advent of TiVo and other digital recorders, television networks and advertising agencies have been scrambling to find new ways of assuaging big-budget clients upset over the high-tech practice of “zapping.” Zapping is the process of using your remote control to fast-forward past TV commercials. Back in the day, viewers actually had to get up off the couch and go take a crap to avoid commercials. Now, technology allows us to shrug off Madison Avenue with the push of a button. What a bunch of ungrateful bastards we all are. We sit there, watch a free episode of “Three and a Half Men,” produced graciously for our entertainment by CBS, and don’t have the simple decency to return the favor by ordering a Pizza Hut P’Zone when the network tells us to.

art

Striptease on the Strip

A Weekend at Las Vegas' Exotic World

It started, auspiciously enough, with pink feathers floating down Fremont Street. The Exotic World Weekend in Las Vegas kicked off (literally) with over 200 exotic dancers performing the world's biggest bump and grind while wearing the world's longest feather boa, a mile-long, shocking pink monstrosity constructed by Ostriches On Line. While the speakers over Fremont blared a selection of classic boom-tsiss-boom-tsiss music, the gals (and a couple of guys) gave convention attendees and curious onlookers a taste of what was to come—three days worth of classic, retro-style Burlesque action.

food

Great Scapes

Q: Dear CBA,

Last fall I planted garlic. It’s really taken off this spring, and it’s taller than my bellybutton (I’m 5’9”). Is this normal, or abnormally tall?

Also, I’ve heard you’re supposed to pick off the flowers to make the bulbs bigger. Is this a good idea? When should I do this?

—Garlic Grasshopper

Los Cuates

It's OK to fork around

I've developed a whole new appreciation for our state's superior, scrumptious food after taking some New Mexico newbies into Los Cuates. Seeing our chile-laden regional cuisine through the eyes out-of-towners not only brought back memories of my first honey-drenched sopapilla, but also made me feel like a great sage, dispensing knowledge and wisdom to those not fortunate enough to live here.

A Family Affair

Add some personality to your annual wienie roast

Damn. Just as you start to relax after making it through Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, yet another less-than-meaningful holiday is upon us. The Fourth of July and all its quasi-patriotic entailments are giving you the stink eye. It’s time to scrape last year’s gunk off the grill, knock the dust off the mismatched patio furniture and fill your Frigidaire with cheap beer.

news

Homeless Services Under Pressure To Relocate

Will Albuquerque’s homeless population still have access to necessary resources?

The city's homeless might soon have to thumb a ride to get the help they need. Mayor Martin Chavez and the Albuquerque Planning Department are pushing to relocate many Downtown services to disperse the concentration of homeless out of the Barelas area. In a recent phone interview, the mayor offered the reason why: Putting many homeless services in the same area is “incredibly destructive to neighborhoods," he said. "You can’t get your neighborhood up if someone is urinating or taking drugs in your yard. This gives us an opportunity to rebuild Barelas.”

Thin Line

OCD—It is one of the least known of all government agencies. Some say it doesn’t exist at all. It’s the Office of Celebrity Distraction (OCD).

By the Numbers

A new report shows that the status of women falls short

Modern-day America seems to be under the impression that equality, in terms of equal pay and treatment for women and minorities, is a reality. Indeed, our country has had 43 years to get it right, after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Yet if you’re a woman working in Los Alamos County, you’re likely to be paid 57 cents on the dollar of what the man with a comparable job gets paid in the office next to you. For the whole state, the gap is raised, although far from erased: Women in New Mexico are paid 75 cents on the dollar of what men are paid for comparable jobs—$25,700 a year to $34,200, pegging our state at 24th in the nation for the wage gap. This is all according to a new report by the New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women that looks at women’s equality on a county-by-county basis.

The Big Three

Peter Simonson, executive director of the state's American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) chapter, sits down with the Alibi for our yearly check-up on the three biggest intrusions on New Mexicans' freedoms

Do you see the church-state divide closing in this region?

And Now, Vacation

Word limits seldom allow mention of individuals honored at Council meetings, but let's leave for July's vacation thanking some outstanding Albuquerque residents cited on June 18. Councilor Michael Cadigan, a former Marine, arranged for Marine Sgt. Jeff Hunter to receive his Silver Star at the meeting. The citation mentioned several occasions when Hunter ran through heavy fire to retrieve wounded comrades. Proclamations honored seventh-grader Matthew Evans, who made it into the final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition, and Goldie Ann Steadman, who recently died at the age of 96 after a life filled with community activism. Perennial Council junkies relished the final episode (maybe) of the city's very own "Survivor" drama, starring the Del Rey Mobile Home Park residents. The 50 families remaining of the park's original 270 have fought eviction for more than two years as the property's owner tried to sell it. Now, Stillbrooke Homes and Argus Development are negotiating an arrangement to create a first-class, mixed-use neighborhood on the land that will allow current residents to buy their own lots.

We Stand Condemned

The rights of people in Third World El Salvador should be worth more than the rights of corporations

Ignorance is no excuse. If we choose to remain blind to the injustices carried on by American corporations in the Third World, this does not make us innocent. Our hands are dirty and our failure to recognize that fact doesn’t make the damage we do less serious or our silence less complicit.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: England—British Formula One star Lewis Hamilton crashed his go-kart mere minutes after selling the vehicle on eBay for nearly $84,000. The World Championship leader was selling the miniature racer at auction to raise money for charity. England’s The Sun tabloid reports Hamilton decided to take the McLaren Mercedes kart out for one last spin after selling it for 42,000 pounds ($83,950). Lewis, 22, took a brief 40 mph drive around a custom-built track and ended up crashing. The vehicle’s rear axle was damaged in the wipeout. McLaren will now have to pay to repair the damage before the kart is sent on to its new owner.

music

Music to Your Ears

Romeo Has a Name—At long last, the alibi.com contest to rename three-car garage rockers Romeo Goes to Hell is over. Many, many people chimed in with their two cents (and sometimes drink tickets and bus tokens), but only a handful made it to the final death round. Although no one person technically won, Levi Eleven (you know, frontman of the-band-formerly-known-as-Romeo-Goes-to-Hell and baron von merch of I Heart Machine band merchandise) will generously assemble prize packages for the best suggesters.

Marsupious

Unique local band releases Stonebaby and makes a few friends in the process

A few things run through your mind when you watch Marsupious climb on stage. Namely, why is the drummer building a jungle gym out of his rack mounts? And where's the guitar player?

Freedom Fighters

Load up your iPod with our Frontline Five

In honor of Independence Day, we proudly reflect on the Frontline Five: the top musical acts that have fought for our freedom of speech and expression through music. We also give you their freest of free songs, which we call upon you to download. Wave your rights high!

Vinyl & Verses' Hard-Won Birthday

It's not a fairy tale of success, but it's a success just the same

Four years ago, local hip-hop was hard to find. Clubs wouldn't book it. The few crews that existed hadn't yet coalesced into a sturdy scene. "There was no sign of hip-hop anywhere," says Phillip Torres. He wanted to perform, to see his friends on stage and to get paid.

Alibi V.16 No.25 • June 21-27, 2007

Red-Light Camera Updates

Are those yellows too short? Are the license plate shields illegal? Will a class-action suit force the city to refund millions in fines?

Short-lighting

Drivers have said it since they began racking up big bills from the red-light camera program in 2005: "Those yellow lights seem awfully short."

feature

Sleep!

Look into my eyes

Some people believe our minds live in no one place. While generally associated with the brain, others believe the mind is everywhere in our bodies, an omnipotent storage facility for memories of every place we've ever been, everything we've ever done and the feelings we have about those things, all accessible with the right coaxing. According to this theory, we know things we don't know we know.

Famous Hypnotists

While the realm of hypnosis is vast, wide and malleable, there are a few souls whose legacies have manifested in our collective imaginations. Without their enduring imprints, Western civilization would be void of hypnotizing stereotypes and reputations. Below are some of the modern age's more famous hypnotists.

music

Music to Your Ears

Down the Rabbit Hole (and Other Underground Things that Hip-hop)—Anyone who's gone looking for jackrabbits as a kid will attest: You can't really tell you're in the thick of them until your leg is halfway down a hole. And that's largely what underground hip-hop is like in this town—insular to the point of looking nonexistent to everyone on the outside. Maybe the local hip-hop community is just bad at outreach. Maybe there's an honest-to-god, concerted effort to keep this stuff buried. Whatever it is, finding the good, underground stuff on your own can be downright impossible. But it's getting easier.

The Battles Machine

Veteran musicians shed their egos in the name of math-rocky, prog goodness

Battles' first full-length album, Mirrored, is a good ride. Dozens of tiny moving parts engage as a motor that runs a little too hot but always manages to glide. "It sounds really chaotic and intense," says guitarist, singer and keyboardist Tyondai Braxton. "But really it's way simpler than that."

Devil Riding Shotgun

A knicker-blasting good time

Devil Riding Shotgun is not out to make stoner rock or a specific branch of metal or anything-core. Instead, this three-piece replaces genre with enough stage energy to sustain a set alongside any knob-cranking monorocker in town. "I do like the feeling of standing in front of your amp and having your pants billow from the sound waves," says guitarist Alan Edmonds. "You know something's happening behind you."

“You Never Know Who Might Be Making Noise at the Library”

Rio Rancho library kicks off a music-themed summer reading program for teens

Teenagers like music. Libraries are beginning to catch on to the idea. In fact, more and more bands are jumping on board with the concept and have scheduled tours throughout the United States that specifically focus on playing library shows. Deimosa Webber-Bey, 29, teen librarian of the Rio Rancho Library, has taken the concept even further. “I decided it was more cost effective to just book local bands for events at our library," she says. "It gives teens a chance to eventually become supporters of local bands when they're old enough to go see them at a venue that only allows 21-and-older to attend.”

Flyer on the Wall

This poster came hand-delivered with a sweet little note: "I submit for your approval a poster myself [Heath Dauberman] and Mancle Anderson of The Tattersaints designed for our upcoming show at Burt's Tiki Lounge on Saturday, June 23. We just finished silkscreening it today at Little Kiss Print Studio ... I apologize if it seems illegible but every project is an experiment at this point. I hope you like it OK.” We certainly do! With Strawberry Zots, (The Return of) The Tattersaints and Polaroid Pornography. (LM)

art

On Chesil Beach

Ian McEwan goes short

Not long ago, Ian McEwan was reading to an audience from his new novel On Chesil Beach, a short, finely observed fable about a couple's ill-begotten wedding night on the English coast in 1962. After McEwan finished, a man stood up from the audience to offer his own story.

The Donkey Show

Barelas galleries point to an interesting future for Albuquerque art

Leave it to the weirdos at Donkey Gallery to create a guerrilla fashion show challenge. Adorned by local designers, sonicly catered by gaunt DJs RAP and emceed to beget happening rather than opening, June 8's "The F Word: Donkey Does Fashion" signified a beckoning achievement in the avoidance of taking things too seriously. It also marked a trinity of swell Barelas gallery events.

One Night Only

Black Market Goods

Josh Jones is sick of hearing people whine about how Albuquerque doesn't have all the creative amenities of bigger cities on either coast. “Look,” he says, “it's not going to happen here if you don't do something about it yourself.”

news

The Busker Bill

Street-performer measure wouldn't address amplified music

"Buskers" is an unusual word in these parts, but it’s cropping up with increasing frequency as a bill makes its way down the pike in the City Council. It means "street performers," and Mayor Martin Chavez was looking to institute a permitting process for them. AJ Carian, deputy director of the city's Cultural Services Department, worked with Councilor Isaac Benton on a measure that would require Albuquerque's street performers to purchase a $7 one-year permit.

Thin Line

“Sopranos” Debate—I'm not here to talk about whether you were satisfied with the ending to the long-running TV series. These days, that subject's reserved for the unending parade of columns and commentaries swarming newspapers and TV stations everywhere.

The Big, Green Terror Genie

Can environmentalists ever recork the bottle?

Chelsea Gerlach liked burning things in defense of Mother Nature. She was part of “The Family,” a cell of The Earth Liberation Front (ELF) responsible for 20 arsons in five states causing more than $40 million in damage.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Romania—An elderly man is racing against the clock to change his name, fearful God won’t recognize him come Judgment Day. Scarlat Lila, 78, from Voloseni was adopted at a young age and now wants his birth name, Scarlat Pascal, restored. “It is well known God calls you by the name you were given when you were born, and when you are baptized, and when I die I will need that name,” Lila said. “At my age, I have not got much time left, so I am hoping they do not take too long.” Despite his insistence, local authorities have stated Mr. Lila needs to present more serious grounds for them to approv e the name change. “He needs to give a normal reason for his request,” City Hall representative Teodor Zaharia said. “Saying that you do not want to have problems once you die is not enough for us to approve this.”

Too Punk to Smoke, Part II

Flow my tears, the ex-smoker said

Well, it looks like it's over for all you smokers. Your days are numbered. You will soon be forced to join me in the hardest and most mind-twisting endeavor of your miserable little lives.

film

Reel World

Music + Movies—Sol Arts is accepting submissions from musicians and bands for a film/music performance concept. Chosen bands will perform live in Sol Arts’ backyard while their film is projected for an assembled “drive-in” audience. Films may be shorts, features or favorite excerpts. You can submit your concept via e-mail to solartabq@gmail.com. Be sure to include the following: name and contact number, information about your music and a description of the film including length. Performances will take place over four nights in July. Deadline for submissions is Friday, June 22.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Surfer rides high in slapstick superhero flick

If you’re going to put the word “fantastic” right there in your title—be it a book, a film, a record or whatever—you should probably produce something fantastic. Otherwise, you’re just setting yourself up for some serious criticism. Elton John’s “Captain Fantastic and the Dirt Brown Band” album? Hey, fantastic! Fantastic Voyage? It had Raquel Welch in a skintight wet suit, what more can you say? The Fantasticks? It ran for 17,162 performances Off-Broadway—fantastic in anybody’s book.

1408

$1.99 local phone calls? Now that’s scary.

Not a lot of people are familiar with S.B. 619, a bill rushed through the California state legislature in the early ’80s and signed into law by then governor Jerry Brown. The law stated simply that each and every short story or novel penned by Stephen King must be turned into a movie before the author’s death. Hollywood has done its best to abide by this tough law, producing something north of 100 features, short films, miniseries and television shows based on his original material. The problem is that King just keeps writing, making it harder and harder for the movie industry to keep up.

Surf or Die

“John from Cincinnati” on HBO

Have you ever liked something simply because you were so confused by it that you felt like not liking it would expose you as a dumb person? “John from Cincinnati” isn’t quite like that. But it might as well be. I’ve reserved judgment on the new Sunday night HBO drama for at least the first couple episodes, trying to get a handle on it. I’m fairly confident now that I won’t ever get a sold grip on this thing. But I’m thinking I might like it. Even if I’m not quite sure why.

food

St. Bernardus Abt 12

If we were skiing down a black diamond hill in the Alps, and we hit a tree trunk and blacked out unconscious and woke up buried in a snowdrift with no use of our legs and an aneurysm that was slowly filling our skull with blood, it would all be A-OK—if only a St. Bernard rescue dog was standing over us with a barrel of St. Bernardus Abt 12 around his neck, the spigot frothing forth.

Pho Saigon

Get your own bowl

Part of the fun of eating Vietnamese is shrouded in adventure: Chomping on ingredients you can’t find at a burger or pizza shack, like an icy drink made with crushed, exotic fruits or a dish of sweet cakes flavored with tuber pulp. Feeling particularly exploratory, I set my compass toward a fairly new restaurant, Pho Saigon, on East Central. I actually went in for dinner the second day it was open in February, but I didn't know it. I remember thinking the service was flawless and the food well-prepared—not hallmarks of a place that's been in business for 48 hours.

Albuquerque

A forecast of the season’s growers’ markets

Nowadays, food travels in the neighborhood of 1,200 to 1,500 miles to get to your supermarket. Stir in frightening farming methods and rocketing gas prices, and the kiwis in your cart start to look a lot hairier, don't they?

Alibi V.16 No.24 • June 14-20, 2007

Short Story Roundup

It’s a small misnomer to label this new book by MacArthur "Genius" fellow Lydia Davis a collection of stories. Many of the pieces are a paragraph long, some less. And Davis doesn’t often follow a story from one place to the next. There are certainly no cliff-hanger endings.

feature

Shorty Short Shorts

The Alibi's Appallingly Short Fiction Contest

Mother, I feel victimized by this contest's success. The pile of entries we received this year was freakin' gigantic. Consequently, the task of judging almost overwhelmed me. Thankfully, I had some grade A help from a judicial panel that included Christie Chisholm, Amy Dalness, Marisa Demarco and Laura Marrich. Thanks, ladies. Couldn't have done it without you.

film

Reel World

Cinema al Fresco—Factory on 5th Art Space (1715 Fifth Street NW) is sponsoring a series of outdoor film screenings this summer. The Outdoor Movie Festival began last Thursday with the classic adventure Raiders of the Lost Ark. Things pick up again this Thursday, June 14, with the awesome Paul Newman prison drama Cool Hand Luke. Future screenings include 2001: A Space Odyssey (June 21), The Pink Panther (June 28) and Easy Rider (July 5). Screenings start at dusk (approximately 8:30 p.m.). Bring your own lawn chair and a suggested $5 donation. For more info, log on to www.factoryon5.com.

Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea

Apt documentary takes a look at one of the odder, more tragic places in America

There was never a story quite like this: In a matter of several years, a dry, salty desert basin in Southern California becomes an unintentional lake. This corner of the Earth gradually transforms from affluent resort to ecological massacre. A century later the place remains a massacre, a "beautifully awful paradise" where "success and failure collide." How American.

VideoNasty

Re-Animator (1985)

The ’80s were a pretty strange decade for horror films. In a way, you could almost say they were the antithesis to the gritty, survivalist-style horror flicks that defined the ’70s. Instead of the raw power of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Lucio Fulci’s Zombie, horror flicks in the ’80s were frequently accentuated with comedy bits and nudity for the sheer sake of nudity—often with dismal results. But when they worked, damn did these gems of the Reagan era kick a helluva lot of ass.

Tune In

“Flight of the Conchords” on HBO

Let us not lament the loss of what has been and gone (“The Sopranos,” “Rome,” “Deadwood,” “Carnivale”). Let us, instead, look with hopeful eyes toward the future of HBO’s Sunday night lineup. I’m excited for a new season of “Entourage” (beginning this very Sunday). I can’t say I completely get David Milch’s apocalyptic “surf noir” series “John from Cincinnati”—but I’m intrigued enough to keep watching. And now I’m happy to welcome one of my favorite new shows to the schedule, the oddly endearing comedy “Flight of the Conchords.”

music

Music to Your Ears

The Ground Beneath Gets Live—Steve Civerolo, lead singer and guitarist of Burque metalheads The Ground Beneath, called me from somewhere in Missouri last week. It was the second time in as many months I've talked to the band from their touring vehicle, The Van Beneath, while en route to a gig outside New Mexico. This is not a band of slackers. (Steve keeps a complete log of every show the band has played at www.thegroundbeneath.com.) And to put an exclamation point on all the intense touring and promotion they do, TGB is made up of just three people. (Although I like to think of their long, luxurious hair as the group's fourth member. It's silent but violent.)

Royalty Life, Royally Yours

Local record company is wise beyond its years

If you walk through the doors of Royalty Life Records on any given Sunday evening, you won’t see white-collared, middle-aged men discussing ways to dominate the music industry. Instead, you'll see a group of young gentlemen, no older than 23, discussing the agenda of a full-fledged independent recording company.

Black Tie Dynasty

Strangeways, here we come

The first time I saw Black Tie Dynasty was at a little club on the crusty edge of downtown Dallas called The Double-Wide. A little after midnight, the band shoved their way onto the stage as I waited, sipping a drink in the back of the darkened, bunker-like room. Eventually things settled and their set began.

Hunab Hookah's Up All Night

The 18+ den hosts bands, belly dancers, DJs and an open jam

I spent my youth, like most anyone in this town, at smoky, mostly boring house parties or in coffee shops drinking $1.26 refillable cups of joe until my pee ran clear. There's not a lot to do here if you're not of boozing age, unless you start something yourself. Like a band.

news

Taken for a Ride

Residents battle BMX and the city

From her living room window, 85-year-old Mary Trujillo has a full view of her newest neighbor, the Duke City BMX track. Her husband, 89-year-old Felix Trujillo, can hear announcements over the stadium loudspeaker booming through their bedroom, which is nestled in the middle of the house. Every Sunday, after morning mass, the Trujillos avoid going home, so as not to feel harassed by the noise, crowds and traffic BMX brings to their block. The open-air arena, which launched last fall, was erected to keep kids off the streets. Meanwhile, it’s driving the neighbors out of their homes—and into court.

Thin Line

See For Yourself—You've seen this picture: An angry Arab youth with a rifle, or dust from an explosion rising from bombed-out buildings while people run scared through the streets. Violence, anger and war riddle the images we see coming from the Gaza Strip and Iraq.

Waste Pit Blitz

How New Mexico deals with legacy waste at Los Alamos

In 1943 the United States was in need of a centralized place to host the Manhattan Project, a two-billion-dollar military undertaking staffed with hundreds of thousands of employees racing to develop the atomic bomb before Nazi Germany. Sixty-four years later, with the war that established the lab long over, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) continues to develop nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, these operations have been to the detriment of soil and groundwater, as the 36-square-mile lab now houses hundreds of waste sites contaminated with dangerous substances, some of which have already shown up in water supplies. Currently the lab is in the midst of what might be an even larger undertaking than building the bomb: Cleaning up decades of dumping, over acres and acres of land before 2015.

The Mosquito and the Elephants

The mayor-Council showdown over a tax cut delay amounting to about $9 million headlined the June 4 meeting. Three other bills, all deferred, put the amount involved into context. A proposed new software system for the administration would cost $25 million. A proposed restriction on tax increment development districts in fringe developments could keep hundreds of millions in the city's tax base. And tighter energy conservation standards for construction would lower city utility bills for decades.

We Are What We Eat

Our culture of corn

Congress is once again considering the reauthorization of the Farm Bill. That’s been going on periodically for most of my conscious life, but until I finished reading Michael Pollan’s devastating analysis of American agriculture, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, a month ago, I have to admit I never paid much attention to the issue.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: India—Wildlife officials in India have found a high-tech way to trap wayward leopards—with cell phone ringtones. So far six leopards that have strayed too close to villages have been lured into traps by ringtones playing the calls of roosters, goats and cows, said H.S. Singh, chief conservation research officer in the western Indian state of Gujarat. “Now instead of using live bait, sounds of animals have been downloaded as ringtones on mobiles, which are attached to speakers kept behind cages and then played at regular intervals,” Singh said last Tuesday. “The leopard drawn by the sound is an unsuspecting victim,” Singh said, adding that the trick only worked at night. All the leopards were later released unharmed in forests away from the villages, Singh said.

art

Culture Shock

Cornstalk—The Alibi's editorial staff voted the Cornstalk Institute the “best nonprofit you've never heard of.” The South Valley organization provides experiential education and prevention programs to local middle and high school kids. We're talking everything from ropes course training to outdoor adventuring to organic gardening. A fundraising event for Cornstalk is going on this Saturday, June 16, from 11 a.m. to midnight. Tickets are $30 (two for $50) and include live entertainment by Burqueños such as Daddy Long Loin and Damien Flores as well as out-of-towners like New York's Emory Joseph and Tucson's Greyhound Soul. There'll also be a silent auction for a Fender Stratocaster signed by both Robert Cray and Eric Clapton. The institute is located at 3011 Barcelona SW. Tix are available at Bookworks and Natural Sound. For details, e-mail cornstalkinstitute@yahoo.com.

Folk on the Rocks

Albuquerque Folk Festival comes to Expo New Mexico

I have to admit that the term “folk music” gets under my skin, but it’s still the best broadly recognizable label for noncommercial music created in a communal environment. The word “folk” might be annoying, but it signifies a crucial aspect of cultural experience for ordinary people. Participation and sharing becomes more important than competition and wanky virtuosity. Tradition and social conscience get higher marks than mass market fame and fortune.

food

The Dish

New Perennial Favorites, Part Three—This edition of "The Dish" is devoted to established Albuquerque chefs who are stepping up to the range at new projects. Go here and here for first two installations.

Murphy’s Mule Barn

Bigger is better

There are several distinct phases that occur when you eat a chicken-fried steak. First is the anticipation. The order is placed, the tummy-tum is rumbling and 15 minutes of cooking time seems like an eternity. Second, there is elation. It’s sitting in front of you, you knock over a water glass to saw off that first bite and eat about half of the fritter as fast as possible. Then comes the “I’m-kinda-full-but-I’m-gonna-keep-going” phase. This turns into the final phase of glassy-eyed, heavy-breathing, hunched over and wondering if the last two bites will make you pass out in the car.