Albuquerque's underground art scene is small and inconspicuous, but its many charms are finally attracting some attention
By Hayley Richardson
There are two things every artist needs: space and light. Since New Mexico has such an overwhelming abundance of both, it's no wonder it has become such a haven for artists. Of course, when people think about thriving New Mexican art centers, it's Santa Fe and Taos that come immediately to mind, not necessarily Albuquerque. As far as the arts go, New Mexico's biggest city is still trying to find its place on the map.
After six weeks of intensive training, the nine filmmaking students and 10 screenwriting students taking part in the 4th annual Institute of American Indian Arts/ABC-Disney Summer Television and Film Workshop are ready to show off their skills. On Friday, July 27, at 6:30 p.m. the LTC auditorium on IAIA’s campus (83 Avan Nu Po Road in Santa Fe) will host a free public screening of five short films produced by Native American filmmakers in the program. There will also be a “table read” featuring some of the screenwriting students’ work. For directions, visit www.iaia.edu or call the school’s information line at (505) 424-2300.
Back in the day, the No. 1 source in town for Psychotronic movie rentals was a little shop on Lead called Wavy Brain—which was owned and operated by none other than local filmmaker Scott Phillips (creator of The Stink of Flesh and the upcoming Gimme Skelter). Every week, I would make the trek into town from Los Lunas in order to soothe my burning desire for all things trash cinema. One fateful day, I asked Scott if he could help me find the title of the film Patricia Arquette’s character was watching on TV in True Romance. I can still remember that day like it was yesterday. It was the day everything changed for me—as if I had undergone some sort of cinematic revelation. It was, of course, the day I was introduced to John Woo films. (She was watching A Better Tomorrow II, by the way.)
Werner Herzog puts his actors through hell, with heavenly results
By Devin D. O’Leary
As a filmmaker, Werner Herzog is noted for his attraction to epic stories of men and their single-minded (some might say obsessive) quests to conquer and/or overcome their surroundings. This isn’t all that surprising, given that Herzog himself is often categorized as a man on a single-minded (some might say obsessive) quest to conquer and/or overcome his surroundings. With classic adventure dramas films like Aguirre: the Wrath of God,Cobra Verde,Where the Green Ants Dream and Fitzcarraldo, Herzog gained as much of a reputation for the lengths to which he was willing to push himself, his cast and his crew as for the stunning, primal images he captured.
Late summer isn’t traditionally the time of year for quality TV. Right about now, the networks are dragging out their fourth round of reruns and as many singing/dancing competitions as schedules will allow. But this year, a number of channels (basic cable channels, anyway) have decided not to abandon their audiences to the vagaries of beach weather and cineplex blockbusters. Last week alone, FX cranked out its fancy new legal thriller “Damages” (with Glenn Close, no less) and AMC launched one of its rare forays into weekly drama, the innovative period piece “Mad Men.”
Powermoves Entertainment is a locally based record company with international intentions. Eric Martinez established the label back in 2001 and now hosts his own team of personnel and artists. Powermoves has represented the Southwest at glitzy, big-time functions like the Latin Rap Conference, the Sundance Film Festival and the MTV Music Awards. Now, Powermoves vice president of operations John Chavez says the company is preparing for what may be its most important event yet—their Empowering The Youth block party, going down Saturday, July 28, at the Balloon Fiesta Park.
Improv tuba master sounds off on Albuquerque's shrinking venue pool
By Thomas Gilchrist
Mark Weaver is a man of two very different hats. In one he is an architect, governed by the strict rules of design and blueprints. But when he switches to the other he becomes a tuba-playing free-improvisation master. Since he doesn’t call himself a jazz musician, it’s hard to nail a genre to the sounds he creates—much of it being on the spot. That’s why in 2000 he decided to open his own record company, Plutonium Records, as an outlet for his work. Run out of his home, the label stands as a safe haven for local improvised music. Six Plutonium releases to date feature the music of several groups he’s played with. Now the Albuquerque native, who plays with groups such as Selsun Blue, The Patti Littlefield and Mark Weaver Duo, and Brassum, has a brand-new release: Brassum: Live. Here, the Alibi talks to the composer/tuba player about his work and the current state of improvised music in Albuquerque.
Store from another era revamps to survive in a fluctuating today
By Marisa Demarco
Like a sensitive weathervane, Charley's 33s & CDs catches wind of the economy's tricks and turns with the slightest of breezes. When it dips, customers sell off their beautiful vintage goods and records. When it climbs, the huge selection of vinyl nearly walks itself out the door.
An interview with the leader of the Soy de Burque movement
By Marisa Demarco
They're just yellow words on a red T-shirt, plain, all caps. ¡SOY DE BURQUE!, or "I am from Burque." For the members of a cultural resistance movement that made those shirts, names are more than a collection of letters.
Historically, much has been made of the fact that people under the age of 25 vote at dramatically lower rates than any other segment of the population. Apathy is partly to blame, but I believe the primary reason for a lack of youth involvement in the political process is cynicism. And much of this cynicism stems from watching politicians who manipulate the media to conceal their true policy agendas.
The Iraq Occupation’s casualties are coming home. And besides the physical and emotional injuries brought back by the troops from their deployment, the nation itself is beginning to realize the extent of the damage wrought by this debacle on our economy and on our citizens’ well-being.
DATELINE: NIGERIA—Thanks to a U.S. aid organization handing out free laptops, Nigerian schoolchildren have entered the computer age and are now happily surfing pornographic websites on the Internet. The official News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported last Thursday that one of its reporters had seen pornographic images stored on several of the children’s laptops. “Efforts to promote learning with laptops in a primary school in Abuja have gone awry as the pupils freely browse adult sites with explicit sexual materials,” NAN said. A representative of the One Laptop Per Child aid group was quoted as saying that the computers, part of a pilot program, would now be fitted with filters.
Chamber music and classical dance get the elaborate marriage they deserve in an inaugural festival that kicks off this week at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (1701 Fourth Street SW). The Ballet Pro Musica Festival's main performances will be held next week. This week, accomplished local dancers can take advantage of master dance classes beginning Tuesday, July 31, taught by Ballet Pro Musica's principal choreographer Peter Anastos and Colorado Ballet's artistic director Gil Boggs. For details, call 352-1281.
Lighted bows hum across handheld chimes. On raised platforms on both sides of the stage, illuminated bowls of water hover in the darkness. Figures dressed in black dip their hands into these bowls, lifting up cupped palms and letting the liquid dribble back into the containers. The effect is stunning, both visually and aurally. Lush melodies from the orchestra rise up from the pit while the sounds of the water, slapped and jostled, mix with traditional symphonic instruments.
Don't know your dosha from dashi? Pita from Pitta? Owner Yashoda Naidoo hopes to help set you straight with two substantial changes at her Annapurna Ayurvedic Cuisine and Chai House. First off, Yashoda has transplanted the Green Light Bistro, her Western-style vegetarian café, into the neighboring Annapurna Chai House. (She's also done the same in Santa Fe with Annapurna and World Vegetarian Café, which is similar to the Green Light).
I brought a friend with me to eat at Tawan Thai, a fairly new place at the corner of Zuni and Wyoming. Rebecca, my companion, had never eaten Thai food, save one box of pad Thai she bought from the deli at Wal-Mart. Shock of shocks; she didn’t like it. I was determined to turn her around on Thai cuisine, so off we drove.
How to behave in establishments that require shoes
By Maren Tarro
Your mothers have failed you. In fact, if you weren’t aware of it before, watching you chew your food with your mouth open causes waves of nausea to wash over other patrons, effectively ruining their meal. Is it too much to expect for you to be on your best behavior when in public?
Blissful Destruction is a mixture of piss, vinegar, scotch and soul—and a whole lot of enthusiasm for their local music scene. With that much going on, they figured it was time to spread some of the love and plan their first tour out of the state.
Richard Bona, Michel Camilo, Eddie Daniels, Toumani Diabaté, Mighty Clouds of Joy, John Pizzarelli, Bobby Shew—and more!—round out a constellation of jazz stars
By Mel Minter
Last year, the producers of the New Mexico Jazz Festival—Outpost Productions, The Lensic; and the Santa Fe Jazz Foundation—told us it was the first annual event and, hallelujah, it turns out they were right. The second annual event, held in Santa Fe and Albuquerque from July 19 to 29, features a breathtaking collection of award-winning international artists, as well as popular local groups.
Trinity House tangles with the police over weekly free lunches in Robinson Park
By Marisa Demarco
For almost 120 Sundays, about two years, Catholic organization Trinity House has served up hot lunches to the homeless. On July 1, after a handful of warnings, police officers told volunteers not to get out of their cars when they pulled up to their usual spot, according to a Trinity House news release.
Want to know if the mainstream media has a conservative or a liberal bias? Look no further than the widespread coverage of the recent “Live Earth” concert. The 24-hour music event, running July 9 and 10, was intended to raise awareness of global warming and other environmental issues. Shortly after the broadcast ended, conservative news sites like the Drudge Report were straining at their leashes to declare the concert a failure of epic proportions.
The news just keeps on coming. Some days you pay attention. Some days you don't. Look here in every Alibi to refresh your memory about what's going on in your community. Don't worry if you don't know all the answers—there's a cheat sheet at the end.
Where are the teeth-grinding, strict-constructionist Republicans when their nation needs them? For that matter, where’s the Democratic Party? We’re living through America’s first coup d’etat, and so far, just 14 Democratic Congressmen are doing anything about it.
Dateline: Iraq—Agence France-Presse is reporting that the Iraqi port city of Basra, already embroiled by a nasty turf war between rival militia factions, is now gripped by rumors of giant badgers stalking the streets at night and eating humans. Local farmers who have caught and killed several of the beasts claim the animals were released into the area by hostile British forces. Mushtaq Abdul-Mahdi, director of Basra’s veterinary hospital, has inspected the corpses of several badgers and has tried to assure locals that the animals are not postwar arrivals to the region. “The animals appeared before the fall of the regime. They are known as Al-Ghirayri and locally as Al-Girta.” he told AFP. “Talk that this animal was brought by the British forces is incorrect and unscientific.” British army spokesperson Maj. David Gell said the animals—believed to be a kind of honey badger—“are native but rare in Iraq. They’re nocturnal carnivores with a fearsome reputation, but they don’t stalk humans and carry them back to their lair.”
Fifth time’s the same old charm for our young wizard
By Devin D. O’Leary
There isn't much point, at this stage of the game, to reviewing anything Harry Potter-related. The books have a more avid fanbase than just about any in the history of literature. The movies have proved to be incredibly popular and as loyal as possible to J.K. Rowling’s source material. Both incarnations, literate and cinematic, have been amazingly consistent over the years. So what, exactly, would be the point of lobbing either deep criticism or lavish praise in their direction?
We’ve heard this song before, but it’s got a good beat and you can definitely dance to it
By Devin D. O’Leary
Why? It’s a valid question. Or questions, actually. Why is Hollywood so obsessed with remakes? Mostly because it requires very little thought on the part of creatively bankrupt studio executives. So why is Broadway remaking so many movies as musical stage shows? (Xanadu,Young Frankensteinand Legally Blondeare just a few of the choice offerings on the Great White Way this season.) Probably because they appeal easily to the busloads of uncultured tourists who show up in Manhattan every day looking for tickets to Cats. Then why, in the name of all that is holy, is Hollywood now remaking the remakes Broadway already remade? ... That, my friends, is a mystery.
If you’re one of the uncounted millions who wished the cast of “Touched by an Angel” had spent less time imparting lightweight Christian morals and more time busting murderers, drug addicts and child rapists, then your prayers have been answered. TNT’s new series “Saving Grace” is just what you ordered: an unholy smushing-together of “The 700 Club” and “Law & Order: SVU.”
Local newbies Chokecherry Ranch will play this week at Ralli's Fourth Street Pub and Grill (see "Flyer on the Wall" for the poster). The band's lead man, Jason Darensburg, is a mellow fellow with an easy, open sort of voice. He's notable for some good, if smalltime, productions around town over the years. But what makes this project especially interesting, for me anyhow, is that he says our former Alibi news editor Tim McGivern is playing drums in the project. Tim always swore up and down that he played drums with Archers of Loaf ... and truth be told, I still don't totally believe him. But at least he's proving he can actually play, which certainly helps his story. Get an earful of Jason's homegrown Albuquerque jam (to say nothing of Tim's fabulous storytelling) this Thursday, July 19. There's no mention of cover, but bring a few bills just to be safe.
Longtime electro-industrial act unleashes its sixth disc, Stitched
By Marisa Demarco
It's No. 1085, the 85th release for Tommy T's DSBP Records. That's a huge number—even without the 10 prefix—for what is essentially a locally run label. Tommy's proud to say that No. 85 is the sixth release for his own band, Diverje, an electro-industrial project that's been around for more than 10 years.
A middle-aged American woman with a fear of heights stands on the high dive by a hotel pool in Greece. Her son encourages her to jump. She's made it this far. Why not just do it? As she considers whether it would be best to take a step forward or a step back, her life literally flashes before her eyes. She begins telling stories about previous vacations and other moments in her life when she held back from making the big plunge.
How would you like to have your very own Nimbus 2000?
By Steven Robert Allen
Harry McAfee was never an avid reader. The North Valley artist didn't get bitten by the book bug as a kid, and he didn't pick up the habit later in life, either. Several years ago, though, his daughter talked him into seeing the first Harry Potter movie. He liked it quite a bit, and when he got laid up sick for a couple weeks, he decided to give the book a try.
The countdown to the end of Harry Potter is ticking away—second by second—until that fateful moment whenHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, book seven of the seven part series, is finally released to the masses. Countless hordes of giddy children and adults alike will be staying up until 12:01 a.m., the first minute of its release on Saturday, July 21, at bookstores around the nation. Here in Albuquerque, there'll be a lot of Potter-style partying going on, so dust off your wizard hats and get ready for the beginning of the end. Or maybe not ...
Pueblo Revival architect John Gaw Meem built UNM's Jonson Gallery in 1950 to serve as both an exhibit space and residence for Raymond Jonson, the famed painter who had just become the university's first (and only) permanent artist-in-residence. Few artists have played such a prominent role in the creative history of our state, and Jonson finally had an ideal space to continue his audacious experiments in color and geometry.
Remember that episode of "I Love Lucy" where Lucy stomps grapes ("Her feet—like two enormous pizzas!" observes the vintner) with a bunch of swarthy, unibrowed Italian women? It looked like fun, didn't it? If, like me, you've found yourself wondering what it'd be like to recreate some of that same purple-stained magic, your time has come. The St. Clair Winery and Bistro (near Old Town at 901 Rio Grande NW) is throwing a grand grape-stomping competition—and in the true bacchanalian spirit of a Roman orgy, it's raging for three days.
I pride myself on learning new things when I eat. Whether it’s a tricky pronunciation (I had a thing with gewürztraminer) or understanding the subtle nuances of a different culture (I’ve made a faux pas or two involving Buddha shrines), I try to walk away from the table armed with knowledge for posterity.
A bible of prissy non-functionality and crystal-clear photography
By Marisa Demarco
Let me tell you about my ideal cookbook. It's big, maybe 12”x12”—so while you're stirring (or frying) you can quickly glance at its 14-point font to make sure you added the right number of eggs. It's spiral bound and lays flat on its back when you set it on the counter. Its pages are laminated, so when you inevitably spill something nasty on it, you can sponge it off. You could drop my dream cookbook from the roof of a 60-story building and still find yourself making almond soup with it at the bottom. Also, it would do your dishes and speak to you in calming tones when all those nasty measurement details began to run away from you, like so many cats from inside a bass drum.
Curtis Bennett was too analytical for fine art school. At least, that's what they told him. They said he needed to think less to be a graphic artist. He needed to let the art flow. So he did ... right out of fine arts and straight into computer science.
Turning virtual trade of massive online games into money in your pocket
By Marisa Demarco
It's a colorful world of valor and honor and monster killing. The in-game conversation sucks, usually. But the conversation sucks in real life, too, and everyone is less likely to have perfect breasts.
It is hard to get my boyfriend to do anything fun with me because he is always playing his massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), World of Warcraft. I offer to buy him lunch or take him to a movie, but he insists on running instances in molten core or slaying trolls and crocolisks in Stranglethorn Vale. I'm fed up. I feel like WoW is more important than me, but every time I tell him this he just calls me a n00b. Brenda, what do I do?
Dateline: Nepal—A Far Eastern goddess has been stripped of her divinity for visiting the United States. Ten-year-old Sajani Shakya was installed at the age of 2 as Kumari of the ancient town of Bhaktapur, near Katmandu. The position made her one of Nepal’s top three goddesses, revered by both Hindus and Buddhists, reports London’s Daily Mirror.But a recent trip to promote a U.K.-made documentary on Nepal’s traditions and political turmoil has upset local religious leaders, who believe the Western visit tainted the Kumari’s purity. “It is wrong and against tradition for her to go on a foreign tour without permission,” Bhaktapur temple official Jai Prasad Regmi said. “We will search for new Kumari and install her as the living goddess.” The Kumari are virgin goddesses believed to inhabit human form until menstruation.
"I don't like bein' retro for retro's sake," says Reuben Glaser from the loft space/recording studio where he's resting between two legs of his tour. He speaks with an almost Southern lilt that has nothing to do with his Cincinnati habitat. "We been playin' the South, so maybe it stuck," he laughs. "New Mexico is probably the one place in the country that has less of an accent than we do."
Felix Peralta is old school; and not in a clichéd, doing-it-because-it’s-cool way. It just is who he is and how he plays. Charlie Parker once said, “Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.” That's the best way to describe Peralta and how he plays his guitar. Every song is a story, every chord an emotion.
Submit—Listen up, New Mexico filmmakers: You’ve got some deadlines fast approaching. First up is the Friday, July 13, deadline to submit works to the 5th Annual Southwest Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. All previews for features or short films must be submitted on 1/2” VHS tape or DVD. Title, name, address and phone number should be affixed to the label, of course. There is a $10 entry fee per title; make checks out to “Closet Cinema.” If your work is accepted, you will be notified by Aug. 10. The film festival itself will take place Sept. 28-Oct. 4. This year’s festival, taking place in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe, is expected to draw nearly 5,000 visitors, making it one of the largest film festivals in the state. To download an application, or to dig up further submission guidelines, log on to closetcinema.org/filmfestival.htm.
Videogame movies do not have a very distinguished reputation. From 1994’s Street Fighter with Jean-Claude Van Damme to 2005’s Doom with The Rock, videogames-turned-movies have been derided by movie lovers and gaming fanatics alike. This hasn’t stopped movie studios from cranking out multiple digitally inspired action films in a (thus far) vain attempt to link the multibillion-dollar entertainment empires of motion pictures and videogames.
I can’t say, honestly, there’s anything original about USA’s new action series “Burn Notice.” The plot about of a pink-slipped spy who finds himself out of work and stumbles into a life of helping random needy strangers with his special detective/spy/crimefighting skills isn’t markedly different than “The A-Team,”“MacGyver,”“Airwolf,”“The Equalizer” or pretty much any action series that aired on network television during the ’80s. But oddly enough, it’s this sense of nostalgic familiarity that makes “Burn Notice” such an enjoyable TV treat.
Stay Tooned—Comics legend Scott McCloud will make a rare appearance at the Art Center Design College (5000 Marble NE) this Wednesday, July 18, in an event sponsored by the North Fourth Art Center and 7000 BC, a collective of New Mexico comics creators. Locus Magazine once called McCloud “arguably the most important cartoonist alive.” He's been on a marathon tour of all 50 states promoting his new book Making Comics, and the final leg is bringing him to New Mexico. Tickets are $10 and McCloud's presentation begins at 7 p.m. For details, call 254-7575 (College) or 344-4542 (North Fourth).
Dana Goldberg follows her stand-up dream across controversial territories
By Marisa Demarco
Bubbly and frank, Dana Goldberg makes the counter guy laugh as she orders her coffee. She's got so much energy this weekday morning, it's hard to believe she needs any wake-up juice. I stir my own cup and hope I'll be able to keep up with her speedy, nimble conversation style and worry that she's going to be shooting for flashy and funny the whole time.
Sometimes it's hard to tell where the line between videogames and art is drawn (just check out this week’s feature, “Applied Ludology”). It may be easy to argue that blood and guts and gore in gaming isn't art but gratuitous violence, but what do you suppose early critics of Hamlet or Macbeth said about the bodies lying on the floor? Many videogames are visually appealing and jam-packed with detailed storylines and character development. While videogames may not traditionally be art, they surely have crossed into the artistic domain, and with the rise of free, casual gaming on the Web, it's never been easier to indulge in some modern art.
Endurance gaming requires, well, endurance. Unfortunately, your natural supply of stamina tends to wane after 36 hours of intense, nonstop battles with crocolisks and murlocs. Before you start to confuse orcs with trolls, you need to feed your body and mind.
One of two prominent blues from Ireland, Crozier is the only sheep's milk blue made in Ireland, or the surrounding U.K. for that matter. It is surprisingly sweet and mild. If you’re a beginner with blue cheese this will be totally doable, and if you’re a lover of brutal blue bite, this one might leave you alone in a cranberry bog. However, there are very nice notes of fresh cream, nuts and hay in the finish, which emphasizes that this cheese is made by a very small herd of sheep on a very small farm.