Alibi V.16 No.41 • Oct 11-17, 2007

VideoNasty

Scarecrows (1988)

I gotta be honest here; I have never found scarecrows to be particularly creepy. Now don’t get me wrong, I can see how the image of weather-ravaged scarecrows standing in the middle of lonely fields provides perfect subject matter for horror flicks. But I have always seen them as sympathetic characters, doling out revenge and protecting the weak. Granted, my earliest exposure to scarecrows in film was that dancing dumbass in The Wizard of Oz and the vengeance-seeking, redneck-killing scarecrow featured in the classic made-for-TV flick Dark Night of The Scarecrow. (Remember when there used to be awesome made-for-TV horror flicks like Gargoyles and Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark? Damn, I miss those days.) So I was left with the impression that scarecrows were either stupid or justice-dealing badasses.

Gus Pedrotty’s Alibi interview [Video]

Gus Pedrotty—Gus, as he likes to be known—stopped by Alibi Headquarters to discuss a bid for mayor that began as idealistic—and some would say unlikely—but has since been transformed into one of the more vital and remarkable candidacies that have passed through this high desert city in ages.

feature

Best of Burque Restaurants 2007

You ate. You voted. We listened.

Welcome back to Best of Burque Restaurants! Inside, you'll discover close to 100 tantalizing categories of the best food in Albuquerque, selected through thousands of votes cast by Alibi readers like you. When you vote in a Best of Burque poll, you're rewarding the best local restaurants with invaluable recognition. Not only that, you're helping to amass an indispensable guide to the best food our city has to offer. Just keep eating and voting, and we'll do the rest. Special thanks to writers Jessica Cassyle Carr, Christie Chisholm, Amy Dalness, Marisa Demarco, Simon McCormack and Maren Tarro for their generous help in reporting the results.

We now present the winners of our Best of Burque Restaurants 2007 poll. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served!

P.M.

Best Sandwich

When it comes to this lunchtime staple, the trick is a perfect balance of hot and cold sandwiches to satisfy even the most finicky of appetites. Whether it's a piping-hot, homemade meatball sub or a cold sub with loads of Italian meats and crisp veggies, Baggin's doesn't disappoint. Add an expansive list of sides and the fact that your sandwich invariably comes in a sack-lunch-style paper bag, and it's easy to see why Baggin's comes out on top.

1. Baggin's Gourmet Sandwiches

No Bones About It

Best Tofu Dish

No one likes soggy, greasy tofu. But those searching for brown, crispy cubes of soy bean need look no further than Orchid Thai Cuisine. The tofu appetizer's so fine it'll force haters to thoughtfully munch on a piece, dipped in sweet peanut sauce and say, "Huh. Not bad." Or substitute tofu for almost any flesh-laden dish on the menu. Orchid tied with Flying Star Café in this category, which fries up a mean hunk of tofu. We like it best in the "Buddha bowl" or lo mein.

Best of the Rest

Best Casual Dining

There is perhaps no other Best of Burque category with more eligible participants, so winning is not an easy task for even the finest of casual dining eateries. Wood oven pizza, an expansive sandwich, salad and soup selection and a dining area consistently packed with locals are Il Vicino's greatest weapons in the fight for category supremacy. And, lest we forget, nothing relaxes the atmosphere like a pint of micro-brewed beer or a glass of fine wine, both available at “the neighbor.”

1. Il Vicino

Best Anything We Forgot

Our "Best Anything We Forgot" section gives us good ideas for next year's poll, sure, but it shines some light on who are readers are. And judging from your responses, our readers are as horny as they are hungry!

Winner Directory

A directory of first place winners in the 2007 Best of Burque Restaurants poll, from Ambrozia to Zinc.

Winner Directory

A directory of first place winners in the 2007 Best of Burque Restaurants poll, from Ambrozia to Zinc.

66 Diner

Best Dish Covered in Gravy

• UNM Area: 1405 Central NE, 247-1421

www.66diner.com

Ambrozia Café and Wine Bar

Best Fine Dining, Best Chef, Sam Etheridge

• Old Town: 108 Rio Grande NW, 242-6560

art

Culture Shock

The sheer quantity of events and exhibits planned for Los Desaparecidos/The Disappeared makes the collaboration noteworthy—and I'm willing to bet it's quality, too. This three-month-long series of exhibitions, films, readings, lectures, workshops, master classes and panel discussions is based on the lives and artistic works of those affected by a military-controlled Latin America. Los Desaparecidos is the collaborative work of the Disappeared Collaborative Project (DCP)—a regional partnership of nine Santa Fe and Albuquerque art and documentary organizations. The opening event is a conversation between Laurel Reuter, chief curator and founding director of the North Dakota Museum of Art, and Lawrence Weschler, essayist in The Disappeared catalogue and writer for The New Yorker, on Friday, Oct. 12, at the Lensic Theater (211 W. San Francisco, Santa Fe, 505-988-1234) at 7 p.m. The main exhibition of the same name opens on Friday at SITE Santa FE (1606 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe, 505-989-1199) with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Also opening (daunting isn't it?) on Friday is Antonio Frasconi and War Paint at The Institute of American Indian Arts Museum (108 Cathedral, Santa Fe, 505-983-8900) with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Both exhibits will be on display through Jan. 20, 2008. Keep an eye here for a review of one of these shows soon—I'll be sure to let you know if they're worth the drive to Santa Fe. (Again, I'm betting they are.) For more info until then, visit www.thedisappearedsantafe.org.

Eating America

Traveling Smithsonian Exhibit, Key Ingredients: America By Food, at the DeLavy House Museum

America’s culture is food. We sup to socialize. We chow down to celebrate. We stuff ourselves to suppress our flaws. We binge to bring ourselves joy. But what exactly is “American food”? Hamburgers, hot dogs and a well-fed man in a red apron tending a grill in a highly manicured yard is an image that comes to mind. America may not have a cuisine as well-defined as the motherlands many of us spring from, but we do love to eat. And eat. And eat. Key Ingredients: America By Food, a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution on display at the DeLavy House Museum, shows how what we harvest, prepare and consume defines our melting-pot culture—and just in time for our annual Best of Burque Restaurants poll.

food

Bumper Crop

Q: Dear Chef Boy,

I've got the beet blues. I planted a big load of beets this year—a mixed bag with red, gold and other—and now, what to do with all these beets? I've gotten some advice on steaming little beet cubes to be used in salads and veggie medleys, or for my 8-month-old to eat. I've also seen something on grilling, then peeling, but what else is there?

—Beets Me

A: Dear BM,

Twin Peaks

A new place to pitch your tent

I’ve been harboring an embarrassing secret for a decade. I applied as a server at Hooters and was rejected. Maybe it was my weird, multicolored hair, my sailor mouth or perhaps it was the Corona bottle and Marlboro light I was nursing during my brief job interview, but the manager took one look at me and offered me a position as a cook. I left, my ego crushed like a beer can. But as luck would have it, a TGI Friday’s opened up a few weeks later, and it was like I had found my new home.

news

Asshat of the Week

"The Great Firewall"
—On Friday, Oct. 5, China enacted a blanket ban on RSS feeds into the country, after curbing access to "Real Simple Syndication" since August. RSS works by gathering and processing news from a large variety of online sources. China has been censoring communication flows for years, but RSS feeds made censorship difficult since they are updated so quickly. (CC)

Answer Me This

How will New Mexico students get their degrees faster and easier? What should you look out for on your lunch break? Why shouldn't you breathe the air in El Paso? And the state's lyrical new area code.

Thin Line

How does someone sell a business that's losing money without the one asset that makes it valuable? That's what the good people at Scripps Howard are asking themselves, or not asking themselves, about the Albuquerque Tribune. The Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) between the Trib and the Journal allows the Trib to use the Journal's press, share its building and live off part of the Journal's ad revenue. Without it, the Trib is but a name—and a hardworking, talented staff of about 45 full-time employees.

A Cyclist Died Here

Remembering the fallen

Old Route 66 through Tijeras Canyon runs straight at mile marker 5. There are plenty of inherently dangerous places to ride a bicycle around Albuquerque. This isn’t one of them.

Panda-er-ing

Albuquerque's economic future could be determined by the cutest of animals

Humans have a proclivity toward fawning over cute things. Some scientists hypothesize that our attraction to facial features typical of babies--large eyes, round body, etc.--is an evolved trait crucial to the survival of our helpless spawn. For the same reasons, whether this is innate or a product of socialization, humans love cute animals. And the giant panda, or Ailuropoda melanoleuca, may be the cutest of all.

Council Bite

As often happens on election eve, city councilors zipped through a few bills on Oct. 1 and cleared the chambers in less than an hour. Most legislation was rescheduled for Oct. 15.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: England—Police in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, say a life-sized cardboard cutout of a police officer intended to deter crime has had the opposite effect--the item was stolen last week. Police say the cardboard cutout replica of Police Constable Bob Malloy was intended to deter shoplifters at the local co-op store. Thefts have fallen from 36 per month to just one since PC Malloy’s 2-D doppelganger was introduced two years ago. Unfortunately, a cheeky thief walked out with the cardboard crimestopper. The theft was captured on closed-circuit television, and local officials are confident they will make an arrest. The fake police officer cost nearly $200 to produce.

film

Reel World

A screening of “Wolf: An Ancient Spirit Returns” will take place at the Lobo Theater (3007 Central NE) on Tuesday, Oct. 16, starting at 7 p.m. The 45-minute documentary, chronicling the return of the gray wolf to Yellowstone, won five Emmy Awards and Best of Category at the EarthVision Environmental Film Festival. Defenders of Wildlife is showing the film as part of the nationally celebrated Wolf Awareness Week, which occurs Oct. 14-20 this year. The screening will be followed by a discussion of the Southwest’s own wolf population with Dave Parson, former lead biologist for the Mexican wolf recovery program, and Lisa Hummon, New Mexico outreach representative for Defenders of Wildlife. This screening/discussion is free and open to the public.

Michael Clayton

Clooney could lead cast to Oscar gold in murky legal drama

After a long, hot summer filled with Transformers, pirates and superheroes, it may finally be time for some honest-to-goodness Academy Award contenders. Michael Clayton, the new legal drama starring George Clooney, has all the earmarks of a year-end, award-bait front-runner. This deadly serious film marks the directorial debut of screenwriter Tony Gilroy (scribbler of all three Bourne films) and boasts the sort of script that actors let go of when someone either pries it from their cold dead fingers or hands them an Oscar--whichever comes first.

Class Act

“Dirty Sexy Money” on NBC

“Dirty Sexy Money” is like a guilt-free guilty pleasure, a trashy nighttime soap opera so keenly aware of the last 30 years’ worth of nighttime soaps that it’s able to tread that fine line between pitch-perfect recreation and winking parody. Like the first season of “Desperate Housewives” (and none of the subsequent ones), “Dirty Sexy Money” is glitzy, melodramatic, occasionally naughty and full of subversive humor.

music

Music to Your Ears

I keep forgetting to congratulate the winners of this year's State Fair Talent Showcase, which was announced a few weeks ago by the New Mexico Music Commission. That makes me a hot dog. But it's our Best of Burque Restaurants issue, so now seems like as good a time as any to sound the trumpets—with relish! (Sorry.) More than $7,000 in prizes, including band merchandise, gear and recording time, was awarded to the local winners. Why wasn't your band competing, again? (Looks like I'm not the only hot dog here.) Without further ado, here are the victorious bands of 2007. Cheers to them all!

The Avengers

Penelope Houston revisits the early days of punk

We're not yet at the point in history when I can stop asking this question: What's it like to be a woman in [insert musical genre/profession here]? Penelope Houston, frontwoman of the punk ’77 band The Avengers, says in the early days, there were plenty of women on the scene. "A lot of the bands around Los Angeles and San Francisco had female performers, female musicians and singers. I wasn't the only one around." Still, she says, she would like The Avengers to be compared to other punk rock bands without any reference to gender—period. Houston can't escape an awareness of her sex, but it's not without payoff. "Women starting bands and performing because of The Avengers is always really gratifying to me."

Luca

Nick Luca fights for his life and wins

As he and his band, Luca, traveled the country, Nick Luca found himself with a case of the touring blues. Unfortunately, things were about to get much worse.

Alibi V.16 No.40 • Oct 4-10, 2007

Ming Dynasty

Dim sum and then some

Maybe it makes me a tacky American to admit this, but I adore ornate Chinese restaurants. The more dragons, gold paint, big red lanterns and Buddha statues, the better. When you add all that eye candy to the delicious odor of incense mixed with cooking smells, it equals an exotic sensory experience that spears me right through the heart.

feature

No, Really?

The special shapes emerging at this year’s International Balloon Fiesta

Over the next week, balloon enthusiasts from all over the world will congregate in Albuquerque to eat roasted corn, buy shot glasses with little balloons on them and get up at indecent hours to watch one of the city’s claims to fame glide into the air. Even for those of us who live here and see it every year, an early morning sky punctured with swollen polka dots does inspire a certain sense of awe. But while spectators enjoy most parts of the nine-day event, the best part for many lies in the “special shapes” balloons.

Ballooner

A virtual hot air balloon ride

Last month, my father and I lucked out. A friend of my mother's revealed she and her husband were long-time balloonists and offered to take us up with them for a small fee: wake up at five in the morning and work as part of the crew. My mother has trepidations about heights, and I'm told my younger brother became rather disinterested when roused from bed at that time of morning, and so my father and I were left to rush across town feeling like people who were about to turn into tiny, flying ants. Here's what we saw.

film

Reel World

The Instituto Cervantes is proud to present the second annual Cine en Construcción film series. The series starts this Thursday, Oct. 4, and continues every Thursday night through Nov. 1 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Cine en Construcción is a collaboration between the Festival Internacional de Cine de Donostia--San Sabastián (Spain) and Rencontres Cinémas d’Amérique Latine de Toulouse (France) and is designed to promote and distribute independent films from Latin America. This year’s selection includes films from Colombia and Argentina, including La Primera Noche (Oct. 4), Fugaz (Oct. 11), Ana y Los Otros (Oct. 18), Capital Rancho (Oct. 25) and El Transcurso de las Cosas (Nov. 1). All films are free to the public and will be presented in Spanish with English subtitles. For more info, log on to albuqurque.cervantes.es.

The Heartbreak Kid

Farrelly Brothers dig through Neil Simon’s trash for inspiration

Ever wonder what would happen if you combined Neil Simon and The Farrelly Brothers? Yeah, me neither. Regardless, The Heartbreak Kid is a remake of a 1972 Neil Simon comedy retooled by the dirty-minded siblings who gave us There's Something About Mary. The result, as can reasonably be expected, is a mixed bag in which the highbrow and the lowbrow combine to form a style that can only be called monobrow.

Lady Chatterley

How can the French make an English novel less sexy?

Ah, highbrow sex. Oh, arthouse erotica. Where would we be without you? From 1967’s I Am Curious (Yellow) to 1972’s Last Tango in Paris to 1974’s The Night Porter to 1976’s In The Realm of the Senses to 1986’s Betty Blue to 1994’s Exotica to 1996’s Crash to 2003’s The Dreamers to 2006’s Shortbus (with countless stops in between), foreign filmmakers have proven that private parts can be pretentious too.

This Upgrade Has Some Bugs

“Bionic Woman” on NBC

I still can’t figure out how “The Bionic Woman,” a 1976 spin-off of the hugely popular ’70s action series “The Six Million Dollar Man,” trumped its more popular male counterpart in the pop cultural sweepstakes. How did Jaime Sommers rate a 2.0 remake before Steve Austin? Regardless of the gender politics at play, NBC’s revamped “Bionic Woman” is a fun, if familiar, addition to today’s action-heavy TV lineup.

art

Culture Shock

Week one as interim arts editor and I'm already handling some big-gun issues that come with the title.

Bomb the Canvas 2

Is it still graffiti if it's in a gallery?

Joseph Sullivan walks out of the Copper Lounge after our interview. And because this is Albuquerque, he knows the doorman. They greet each other, shake hands. The doorman's putting together a documentary about local graffiti art, and he wants Sullivan to be in it. "You got a number?" he asks. Sullivan digs his wallet from his jeans' pocket and pulls out a plain white card. The doorman's eyes widen briefly. "You're an attorney?" he asks.

Absolutely Fabulous

National Coming Out Day gets the star treatment from Albuquerque’s best drag performers

Hallelujah, I have a drag name! It was bestowed upon me by royalty, an Empress of both Albuquerque and Boise, Idaho, known as Fontana Divine. But most days you can just call him PJ Sedillo. A capstone in Albuquerque’s gay community, PJ has been organizing New Mexico’s largest drag performance event, called “Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are,” since its inception nine years ago. “Come Out” returns for one night of stellar drag performances at the king-sized National Hispanic Cultural Center Theater this Saturday, Oct. 6. A royal word of warning: This show sells out and starts promptly at 7 p.m.—the ladies have never been late. Get your tickets now.

food

Say Cheese!

New Mexico farmsteads craft cheese ... without Kraft

A couple of years back, Saveur magazine dedicated an entire issue to cheese. I settled into my reading chair and quickly became entranced with stories of small artisan cheese producers who had shaken off the big-city entrapments to spend their days crafting cheeses from milk they had personally coaxed from all sorts of beasts.

Treat Those Apples Right

Apple season is a blessing and a burden. Excited by early October's glut of local fruit—so strikingly different from the homogenized four varieties that pack grocers' shelves the rest of the year—I tend to overdo it. There's at least one more bag of apples than I can eat. Regifting is out; my friends and coworkers are all in similar situations. So the orphaned apple sack sits whithering in a corner of my kitchen, scowling at me, until I finally throw it out. My guilt makes that trip to the dumpster even weightier.

news

That Burning Feeling

It's anger, disappointment and, somehow, desire—our women's football team folds and another, the Menace, forms from the debris

Christie Moses lost a lot of money when her business venture folded. "I'm in debt as far as I can get," she says.

Thin Line

The days of hazardous radio consolidation could be coming to a close.

Answer Me This

What are the mayor's cronies up to now? What kind of sentence do you get for a count of extortion? These personality traits make you a ... Plus, one man's stand against the smoking ban.

Operation Stonegarden is a Disaster

Recent events in southern New Mexico connected to the Bush Administration’s peculiarly-named “Operation Stonegarden” cry out for much closer analysis in the press than they have been given so far. They are the tip of a very ugly iceberg that ought to be demolished before it causes an even bigger disaster.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Nepal--Mountaineering authorities in Kathmandu are calling for a ban on nudity and attempts to set obscene records on the world’s highest mountain. Last year, a Nepali climber claimed the world’s highest display of nudity when he disrobed for several minutes atop Mount Everest’s 29,028-foot summit. “There should be strict regulations to discourage such attempts by climbers,” Ang Tshering, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, said last Wednesday. Mount Everest has always attracted record-setters, including the oldest climber (71-years-old), the youngest climber (15-years-old), the first climber with one foot and the first blind climber. In 2005, a Nepali couple became the first to be married atop Everest. Authorities hope their proposed regulations will discourage nudist climbers and those attempting to join the 5 1/2-mile club--although the mountain’s subzero temperatures would seem to discourage such activities already.

music

Music to Your Ears

Wayne Campbell, the character created by Mike Myers on "Saturday Night Live"'s "Wayne's World" sketches, could have been based on Mike Trujillo. Like his NBC Doppelgänger, Albuquerque's Mike T. hosts a public access music show, worships hard rock and righteous babes with equal reverence, even sports long hair crowned with an ever-present baseball cap. Mike and Wayne both made their Public Access debuts in 1992.

Sonic Independence

Seven-year-old Oscillation Electronic Music Festival rails against conformity

The Oscillation Electronic Music Festival is remarkably well-behaved for the strong, subversive stuff it spits out. The festival is a two-day gathering of weirdo electronic music that lumps together not-so-friendly-sounding tags like "glitch," "IDM," "EBM" and "darkwave." Yet the festival is drug- and alcohol-free and all-ages friendly, immaculately organized and executed in one of the nicest theater spaces in town. Oscillation is a polite 7-year-old, but one that likes to raise hell.

They Probably Are Giants By Now

A silver anniversary approaches the songwriting geniuses behind "Birdhouse in Your Soul" and "Particle Man"

In spite of their unorthodox sound and nerdy science- and history-based lyrics, They Might Be Giants managed chart toppers and radio play with the best of them. And they've been at it, fresh and inspired, for a quarter century. "I think most things that have been around for 25 years tend to have this safe quality to them. They were probably already slick in the first place," says John Flansburgh, one of two Johns that founded the band in 1982. "The most interesting stuff from our culture doesn't usually stick around that long."

Alibi V.16 No.39 • Sept 27-Oct 3, 2007

Grown Up Gay

The Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival turns five in grand fashion

“It’s amazing how much we’ve grown,” marvels Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Director Roberto Appicciafoco. The festival he helped found is entering its fifth year, and a glance through the list of films and events for 2007 shows a schedule bursting at the seams. This is both a sign of good, organic growth and an indication that the folks behind the festival are throwing themselves one fabuloso birthday party.

feature

Knuckle Down!

The Alibi's 2007 Election Guide

It's sad, but we understand. There's a fairly good chance you're unaware that Oct. 2 is Election Day. Even if you are aware, you may not be planning on voting. It's just a municipal election, right? Four Council seats are up for grabs along with a recall for one district and a number of bonds and propositions. No big deal. You don't really need to go; you'll just take a long lunch instead. But it's precisely that mentality that leads to such small turnouts at municipal elections, making it even more critical that you show up. Your voice matters, and in citywide elections, it matters even more.

Propositions

Albuquerque's City Charter has the same relationship to the city that the Constitution has to the federal government—that is, it defines how the city operates as well as the rights and responsibilities of its elected officials and its citizens. One of the perks of living in Albuquerque is that voters regularly get to vote on propositions to amend the charter. This year, voters have five propositions to consider.

District 2

The Alibi Endorses: Debbie O’Malley

It’s no secret that Council President Debbie O’Malley has a contentious relationship with Mayor Martin Chavez. That reality has, unfortunately, fueled the District 2 race, leading constituents to choose their vote based on who they side with rather than on which of the two actual candidates—O’Malley and challenger Katherine Martinez—would be better for their district. We’ll ask you right now to put all that aside.

Alibi Clip-n-Save Voters’ Guide

Can’t remember who or what to vote for? Clip out this voting guide and take it with you. Disagree with our endorsements? Scratch them out and write in your favorite—it’s all in your hands.

District 4

The Alibi Endorses: Brad Winter

The District 4 contest has turned into a real cringer. It was bad enough that the race turned negative so quickly, with incumbent Brad Winter and challenger Paulette de'Pascal trading nasty barbs in the press. Then an errant e-mail revealed that Albuquerque Transit Director and former city councilor Greg Payne was working on de'Pascal's campaign, a major ethics violation if he was doing so on the city's dime.

District 6

The Alibi Endorses: Rey Garduño

District 6 is lucky. It has a track record of excellent councilors. Hess Yntema, one of Albuquerque’s all-time favorites, filled the seat for more than a decade. When he left four years ago, the position was filled by “movie star Martin” Heinrich, who has come to be another city favorite. Heinrich has garnered such a large fan base in his district and in Albuquerque that he’s decided to pull a “Heinrich maneuver” (you have no idea how long we’ve been waiting to use that term) and run for Congressional District One against incumbent Heather Wilson. That little move leaves his Council seat wide open, and now several outstanding candidates have entered the ring to take his place.

District 8

Trudy Jones (Unopposed)

What's up with District 8? Do people living in this far Northeast Heights portion of the city just not give a damn about the direction of our city?

District 9 Recall Election

The Alibi Does Not Support

The Alibi didn't endorse lawyer Don Harris during his run for City Council two years ago, but we haven't been nearly as annoyed with him as we thought we'd be. As Alibi Council reporter Laura Sanchez says, “Don Harris hasn't been as bad as I expected. He's certainly worked harder for his district than the appalling Tina Cummins [Harris' predecessor] and has been more independent than expected.”

art

Culture Shock

Yep, it's true. I'm leaving the Alibi. (Actually, by the time you read this I'll already be gone.) I did all my major blubbering in last week's issue, and I'm not going to go there again. But you should know that while they're searching for a replacement for the arts and books part of my job, Amy Dalness will be filling in. Luckily, she's already the calendars editor, so arts releases are (hopefully) already going to her. If you need to contact her about editorial coverage in this section, call 346-0660 ext. 255, or e-mail her at amy@alibi.com.

A Fairly Stupid Tale

Jon Scieszka speaks 6-year-old better than you

Kids are the perfect audience to Jon Scieszka. They are ripe to explore the world, go along with a story (no matter how unlikely) and demolish the status quo by laughing wildly at end pages placed in the middle of the book. Any adult smart enough to get Jon's jokes is welcome to join the revelry, just don't expect a life lesson on every page. Scieszka, with some help from illustrator Lane Smith, is the author of the life-changing children's book The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales as well as other award-winning yarns based somewhere between absurd and genius. Scieszka is touring in support of the duo's latest release, Cowboy and Octopus, a tale of two unlikely friends doing what friends do best. Before heading out West, he took some time out of his stinky day to talk with the Alibi.

food

Villa Del Mar

They butter up their octopus

Villa Del Mar is one of many mariscos restaurants, but they are set apart from the masses by the way they prepare squid. Sautéed in butter with paper-thin shaved onions, it positively melts into a meaty, salty orgy of epicurean proportions. Too often squid is forced to be tough. Here, it's elegant simplicity.

Crewtons

Most our homies don’t need encouragement to eat their leafy greens, but hey, it happens. For those who don’t get salad (and they are out there, even among vegans), there is one and only one cure: excellent croutons. They can turn a plate of salad into a big bowl of tasty bread that happens to have some lettuce mixed in it.

Jennifer James Returns!

An interview with one of Albuquerque’s favorite chefs

Beloved chef Jennifer James, formerly of Graze, is back on Albuquerque’s food scene after a year-long hiatus. Last week the Alibi spoke with James about her current stint at Chef du Jour, why she left Graze and her plans to open another restaurant in the near future.

news

The King and Queen of Hopping Seeds

Albuquerque business the largest exporter of Mexican jumping beans in the world

Joseph Hindi was originally in the cloth bag-making business, but it wasn't going very well. "Some nuns in Texas were blowing us out of the water," he laughs. The nuns were able to make shopping bags a lot cheaper. So Hindi thought he needed a gimmick, something to help move his products. Someone suggested he throw in a few Mexican jumping beans.

Thin Line

Last Wednesday was a historic day for the World Wide Web. It saw the keystone of pay-to-view Internet news pulled from its snug position on top, leaving the other bricks in the arch ready to tumble at any moment.

Just Make It Stop!

Mayor Martin Chavez decreed all outdoor city property off limits to smoking earlier this summer. At the Sept. 17 meeting, Councilor Ken Sanchez moved a bill that would allow smoking in certain outdoor areas of Isotopes Stadium, but it failed 3-4, Councilors Michael Cadigan, Sally Mayer, Isaac Benton and Martin Heinrich opposed. Councilor Brad Winter's bill giving a 5 percent to 10 percent break to small, local businesses on some city job bids passed 8-1, Mayer opposed.

Déjà Vu Not All Over Again

City Hall tackles police misconduct against peace protesters

The eyewitness and news accounts of police misconduct against peace demonstrators on Sept. 15 triggered vivid flashbacks of police misconduct during the early stages of the Iraq War. My first drafts of this column began “Here we go again.”

New Mexico Department of Health Plays it Cool After Losing $4.3 Million in Children’s Vaccines

The New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) is trying to keep its cool after a refrigerator malfunction in July that compromised $4.3 million worth of children’s vaccines. The DOH is still uncertain as to what caused the malfunction as well as precisely how and why the loss occurred. The malfunctioning refrigerator remains in use in the Immunization Department’s Santa Fe pharmacy, where the state’s vaccine supply is stored.

Odds & Ends

DATELINE: NEW JERSEY—A car crash may have saved the life of Vineland resident Bryan Rocco. “I was on my way back to the office and stopped at Burger King and bought a chicken sandwich and onion rings,” the 43-year-old foreman for DJ’s Painting told the Daily Journal. “I started to choke on one of the onion rings and then I guess I just blacked out.” Rocco’s company-owned Scion swerved across the road, hit a curb and then struck a tree. “Next thing I knew, when I came back to,” said Rocco. “I was on my side, facing the opposite direction.” Police speculate the vehicle’s air bag struck Rocco in the chest, dislodging the bite of onion ring stuck in his throat. Aside from a cut on his head, a few bumps and bruises and a swollen chin, Rocco was fine.

film

Reel World

Click to see the 2007 Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Schedule.

Kids First

“Kid Nation” on CBS

The controversial new reality series “Kid Nation” debuted on CBS last week to so-so ratings (second place in the timeslot behind FOX’s “Back to You”) and some speculation that advertisers had shunned the premiere. (The first 38 minutes of the pilot were aired commercial-free, though CBS execs insisted the second episode would have a “regular and full” commercial load.) Brushing aside the idea that the New Mexico Legislature might have delayed the passage of child labor laws in order to accommodate the show’s month-long shoot (a claim that still needs investigating), much of the “children in jeopardy” talk seems to have been in vain.

The Game Plan

Cute kids and quarterback sacks add up to a career killer

Wrestlin' thespian Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson could have had a career in film. He's a good-looking fellow. He's charismatic. There's no glaring indication so far that he can't act. With last gen action stars like Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis collecting social security, the world needs a new slab of beef to shoot bad guys. The Rock could have been that slab. But, after a handful of mid-range actioners (Doom, Walking Tall, The Rundown), the former WWE star has jumped the shark, skipping big-budget franchise flicks and leaping directly into the sort of cutesy Disney family films that normally signal the end of an actor's career. (See Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams and—shudder—Cuba Gooding, Jr. for reference). Of course, if you loved Vin Diesel (remember him?) in The Pacifier, then The Game Plan is just the thing to make you stand up and cheer.

music

Flyer on the Wall

Experimental folk from your favorite weirdo musicians: Mark Weaver (trombone, tuba), Brett Sparks (vocals, bass, saw), Mark Ray Lewis (vocals, guitars), Michelle Collins (vocals, theremin, etc.), Jessica Billey, (violin, vocals) and Jason Aspeslet (drums) appear as Trilobite this Thursday, Sept. 27, at Zinc (21+, free). Show starts at 9:30 p.m. (LM)

Dumping iTrash

Local solutions for the world's e-waste problem

Fast Heart Mart made quite a few stops while touring the United States this summer but, except for the odd bathroom break, none of them were at a gas station. The Albuquerque band has put more than 4,000 miles on a van that requires no petroleum. Its only fuel source is recycled vegetable oil.

Face Up and Sing

Five songs of 2007 help put politics back in our playlists

Religion and politics—the two topics you're not supposed to bring up in mixed company or, until pretty recently, in your songs. Of course, there are plenty of both in conversation and in music, but it wasn't all that long ago—pre-wartime, perhaps—that it was once again passé to put your political views into your pop tunes.