Alibi V.17 No.3 • Jan 17-23, 2008

Music to Your Ears

Does your guitar have a person's name? Do you sometimes fall asleep with it in your arms? Are your pants pockets stuffed with lyrics scrawled on little bits of paper? If so, you might be one of the millions of Americans who are aspiring singer-songwriters.

feature

The Fight for the Dial

Will low-power FM translate in Albuquerque?

To give Dixon, N.M., a radio station, Clark Case dug up about $20,000.

news

2008: Back to the Future

The wilder fringes of the built environment dominated the Jan. 7 City Council meeting, from tents to adobes to very tall cosmetic shells.

Answer Me This

A dozen Tasmanian devils cost how much? What was Big Bill's first action off the campaign trail? What were those two guys from Chaparral thinking? What will UNM do to raise graduation rates?

Final Hours

U.S. Attorney General asked to inspect the proposed closure of the Albuquerque Tribune

As the Albuquerque Tribune lies on its deathbed, there are still a few supporters intent on finding a cure.

Thin Line

In just 13 short months, analog television signals, the conduits through which TV has broadcast since its emergence in the late '30s, will cease to be. Anticipated for more than 10 years, old-hat analog will soon be replaced by the not-very-wavy wave of the future: digital television. Aside from improved picture quality, DTV's superiority lies in the fact that it takes up less bandwidth, freeing scarce space within the broadcast spectrum and, according to the government, transforming your viewing experience.

The El Vado Mess

No way to do historic preservation

Richard Gonzales bought the old El Vado Motel on west Central in 2005. The motor court was losing thousands of dollars each month. “I can’t make it anymore,” the previous owner told the Albuquerque Journal.

Merlot To Go

Little-known law allows those who dine to take home unfinished fruit of the vine

Oenophiles know the hesitation often born of deciding whether to order an entire bottle of wine at a restaurant. A whole bottle is both an investment and a commitment to five glasses—and a big buzz. But ordering a bottle is no longer such a monumental decision.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: New York--In what was either an ugly case of check fraud or an attempt to remake Weekend at Bernie’s, two 65-year-old friends wheeled the dead body of their roommate to a store in Midtown Manhattan to cash his Social Security check. The trouble began last Tuesday when David Dalaia and James O’Hare allegedly tried to cash Virgilio Cintron’s $355 Social Security check at a store in Hell’s Kitchen on their own, police said. The man at the counter told them Cintron had to be present to cash the check, so they went back to his apartment, which at least one of the suspects shared with the recently deceased man. Cintron was apparently undressed when he passed away, sometime within the previous 24 hours. Police said Dalaia and O’Hare proceeded to dress him in a faded T-shirt, pants they could only get up part way and a pair of Velcro sneakers. They threw a coat over his waist to conceal what the pants couldn’t cover. “He was sitting in the chair with his head in the back of the chair,” witness Victor Rodriguez told New York’s KDKA-2 News. “From where I was looking, he appeared to be dead.” As Dalaia and O’Hare were pulling Cintron’s partially dressed, wheelchair-bound corpse into Pay-O-Matic, a check cashing store in midtown Manhattan, they caught the attention of a plainclothes police officer who was eating lunch next door. The officer phoned police, who arrived and took O’Hare and Dalaia into custody. Cintron, 66, was taken to a nearby hospital and declared dead, most likely from natural causes.

film

Reel World

On Jan. 17, Instituto Cervantes at the National Hispanic Cultural Center kicks of a brand-new, multiweek film series. “Cinema Policíaco” shines a spotlight on the low-budget gangster thrillers studios in Madrid and Barcelona were pumping out in the ’50s. The series starts with a bang this Thursday thanks to ultraprolific director Ignacio F. Iquino’s Brigada Criminal. This 1950 film spins the story of a fresh-faced graduate from Madrid’s Police School who becomes involved in a robbery at a bank where his uncle works as a teller.

27 Dresses

At least they nailed the “something borrowed” part

Employing weddings to make women cry (Four Weddings and a Funeral, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Wedding Planner, The Wedding Singer, The Wedding Date, The Runaway Bride) is a cheap and easy tactic. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. It’s simply ... unsporting (to say nothing of uninspired) of filmmakers.

There Will Be Blood

Raw-boned American saga ditches melodrama for elemental filmmaking

Much-praised director Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia) ditches his popular ensemble-cast comedy/drama style for a dark, visually sparse single-character study. Borrowing some of its plot and most of its characters from an obscure Upton Sinclair novel (titled Oil!), Anderson’s There Will Be Blood sweet-talks Irish actor Daniel Day-Lewis out of yet another self-imposed “retirement” to play the single most vicious, mesmerizing, unforgettable character of the year.

“Told You I’d Be Back.”

“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” on FOX

“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” isn’t the best sci-fi action series ever made. But given today’s Writers Guild strike-mandated slate of reality shows and reruns, it’s enough to rate as a desperately welcome addition to the midseason TV schedule.

music

Mac Lethal

On paranoia and talking to strangers

New Rhymesayers label artist and former Scribble Jam champion Mac Lethal is hitting the industry with a lethal dose of acid-tongued lyricsm. He hits The Stove in Albuquerque this Sunday. The Alibi got a hold of Mac to talk about his Always Talk To Strangers Tour (co-headlined by MCs Grieves and Type) as he was sitting down on the same green couch he raps about in his new album, 11:11.

Newton & Jang

Flutist James Newton and pianist Jon Jang forge a musical brotherhood

Brothers typically come to their sibling relationship without choice, riding shared DNA from common parents. Flutist/composer James Newton and pianist/composer Jon Jang, however, were drawn into brotherhood nearly 25 years ago by a common musical DNA and a shared appetite for justice.

The Knew

Writing the songs The Knew would like to hear

In 2006, Jacob Hansen and Patrick Bowden of Denver’s The Knew became a two-piece after guitarist Tyler Breuer left to teach overseas. They were vulnerable in a live setting and were limited musically. The only thing they could do was quit or adopt an underdog mentality, to play as though each song was their only shot. The duo did more than survive.

art

Culture Shock

Working Classroom has spent the last 20 years promoting and building a more inclusive, more dynamic, more inspired global art community. For 20 years, established artists from around the world have come to the Duke City to work with those aspiring to greatness from ignored communities. For 20 years, this nonprofit organization has worked hard to help every artist in Albuquerque find his or her potential, social status be damned.

Royal Road

Camino Real Tierra Adentro by Eniac Martînez

No one tried to stop the man from holding a gun to Pancho Villa's head. The would-be assassin's face was just off-center in the photograph—his arm extended through the car window with a pistol pointed at the sombrero-topped head of Villa. The crowd dappled behind him showed no surprise or uproar, for it wasn't the first time someone shot Pancho Villa. It was one of many times since the real Villa's murder in 1923 and it wouldn't be the last.

Eight Years of Revolution

Tricklock Company presents the Eighth Annual Revolutions International Theatre Festival

The marathon we theater junkies have been waiting for is here. The Eighth Annual Revolutions International Theatre Festival kicked off Wednesday, Jan. 16, with a titillating performance by The Wau Wau Sisters, and there's much more to come. Running until Feb. 3, Revolutions features theater troupes and performers from Poland, Germany, Pakistan, the whole of Eastern Europe and all over the U.S. This year brings a few new additions, including more performances in Santa Fe at the Armory for the Arts and, to add to the Dionysian celebration (thanks, Joe Peracchio, for the delicious descriptor), O'Neill's Irish Pub has become the official Revolutions base camp.

food

Ask Chef Boy Ari

Q: Dear Flash,

Why is it that I can’t bring kumquats—or any number of other fruits—over the border from Mexico, but I can buy Mexican kumquats at the grocery store? How do they know those kumquats are safe and others aren’t?

—Fruity

A: Dear Fruity,

You’ve asked a big question; but the short answer is that fruits with the potential to carry infectious plant diseases or insects must be imported very carefully and harvested from known sources tested to ensure they're clean. Of course, contamination still happens. I guess that’s just the price we all have to pay so folks like you can have your weird tropical fruits.

Hot Diggity

Good dog!

There are as many paths to the restaurant industry as there are people working in it. Some are born with a passion for food. Some can’t get hired anywhere else. Others find themselves in the kitchen through chance.

Alibi V.17 No.2 • Jan 10-16, 2008

Last Chance for the Lobo

In a battle over control of public land, Mexican wolves are caught in the crossfire

Debbie Miller, a hardy brunette with a butterfly tattoo on her right arm, walks past the family shooting range just outside her kitchen door. She is talking about a recent visitor to her isolated ranch house in the high desert rangeland of Catron County, N.M. "She had been in the yard 10 times in eight weeks," Miller says on a sunny July afternoon. "This was like home for her."

news

Well Wishes

High levels of silica in Rio Rancho wells could pose a health threat

A new study may make Rio Rancho residents swallow hard.

Answer Me This

What did one traveling family find in a Santa Fe bathroom? What question does the mayor want the courts to answer? Where will our state's National Guard be deployed? How many animals left the city's shelters alive last year?

Street Cleaners

Get to know the people responsible for mopping up your party mess

The Worker Files is a new Alibi feature spotlighting people with interesting jobs in New Mexico. If you’ve got a noteworthy job or know someone who does, contact News Editor Marisa Demarco at (505) 346-0660 ext. 245.

Thin Line

Six artists from the Czech Republic scaled a television tower last June in the northern part of their country, connected a computer to the camera and broadcast cable, and hacked a fake nuclear explosion into a national weather forecast.

Where’s the Finish Line?

What to look for in this year's Legislative Session

On Tuesday, Jan. 15, the New Mexico Legislature will convene for this year’s 30-day session. These “short” sessions in even-numbered years were originally intended to deal with budget issues, which lent a spare quality to its work, a sort of pared-down character that used to make it more of a sprint than the longer, 60-day “regular” sessions that were often endurance marathons.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Australia--A snake was saved by surgery last Wednesday after mistaking a quartet of golfballs for a hearty meal of chicken eggs. A couple had placed the balls in their chicken coop at Nobbys Creek in New South Wales to encourage their hen to nest, Australian Associated Press reported. Late last month, they found the balls missing and discovered a lumpy carpet python nearby. They took the 32-inch non-venomous snake to the nearby Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, where senior veterinarian Michael Pyne operated to remove the golfballs from the snake’s intestine. Pyne told reporters the animal is now on the road to a speedy recovery.

music

Music to Your Ears

Think back to this time last year. No one knew it yet, but the Albuquerque Mining Company (AMC) was on the verge of closing. Albuquerque's longest-running gay club had just celebrated its 20th anniversary in October. But by the end of February, it was gone.

Six Organs of Admittance

One man's quest for mystery

In some ways, Ben Chasny's feelings about MySpace match his take on creating music in general. "My problem with MySpace is it's such a template," the Six Organs of Admittance founder and only permanent member explains. "It all looks so cookie-cutter, and I wish there was a way to have some sort of individuality with it."

film

Reel World

This Thursday, Jan. 10, the Guild Cinema will open its doors to the San Francisco-based UnderSkatement Film Festival. This annual touring film fest is entering its fourth year on the road, bringing edgy skateboard shorts to audiences across America and Canada. Among this year’s lineup of films/videos are Mike Maniglia’s “Gusto: Grindline,” Rory Sheridan’s “Behind the Griptape,” Mike Wilson’s “Skate Song” and Dan Wolfe’s “Lost in the Fog.” Hellz yeah! The show runs approximately an hour and 45 minutes and gets grinding at 8:30 p.m.

The Orphanage

Atmospheric Spanish chiller will have audiences jumping at shadows

America no longer knows how to make horror movies--which explains why virtually every horror film Hollywood has extruded in the last five years has been a remake. A large percentage of those remakes haven’t even been remakes of American movies. Take, for example, the recent release One Missed Call. It’s an English-language retooling of a 2003 Japanese flick (just like The Ring, The Grudge and Dark Water before it). What’s more, Warner Brothers didn’t even bother hiring an American to shoot it; the company went out and plucked an obscure French director named Eric Valette (Maléfique) to helm it. Seen ads for The Eye, the upcoming supernatural thriller starring Jessica Alba? It was originally a Thai film. Now we have an American version directed by--guess who?--a couple of French guys. All of which begs the question: If you like horror, why are you bothering to watch American films in the first place?

Control

Moody musical biopic makes for a good mope

Dark, gloomy, slow and depressing: You’ve got to give credit to Control for one thing: The film fits its subject matter like a custom-tailored T-shirt.

Struck Out

“The 65th Annual Golden Globe Awards” on CBS

“Here we are live on the red carpet at the 65th Annual Golden Globe Awards. Arriving on the red carpet right now is ... well, nobody. But if you squint real hard, I think you can see George Clooney standing behind the picket lines across the street. ... Back to you, Mary Hart!”

art

Culture Shock

The city is abuzz with new art happenings—evidence that Albuquerque is a cultural epicenter teeming with talent. Two great shows opening this weekend are worthy of some attention. First, the South Broadway Cultural Center (1025 Broadway SE) presents Soul Expressions with works by the New Mexico African-American Artist Guild (more to come later this the month). The variety of styles and voices in Soul Expressions makes it a promising exhibit. The show is already on the walls, but join the artists for an opening reception on Friday, Jan. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Not-So-Hollywood Life

Unpronounceable at the Revolutions International Theatre Festival

Kumail Nanjiani watched one Hollywood movie a day to prepare for college. Nanjiani's parents insisted from a young age he attend a university in the United States since his native Pakistan was such a turbulent country. And so the family VCR became his window into America.

Leaps for the Common Life

New and recent books from New Mexico poets

My mother told me years ago poetry turns emotion into words, but like anything worth exploring, poetry isn't nearly so simple.

food

Bite

There are few perceivable pillars of French cooking that are as widely and voraciously loved as scalding-hot onion soup cloaked in a blistering layer of melted Gruyère. Like many of the epic French dishes that canonize the cuisine of rural folk, vegetarians usually remain wholly uninvited. How does one mitigate that beef stock in every single recipe of the gooiest of soups, French onion?

Mariscos La Playa

Life's a beach

Mariscos La Playa, having made a name for itself in Santa Fe and Española, added to its family of restaurants with a spot here in Burque. Some people still cringe at the idea of traditional Mexican seafood in a place where there isn’t water in sight (to be fair, its new Central location is near the Rio Grande). And while setting out to catch fresh seafood in a landlocked state can be tricky, Mariscos La Playa makes a commendable effort and still keeps prices in a reasonable range.

Alibi V.17 No.1 • Jan 3-9, 2008

Top 10 of 2007

After throwing them at the wall, these are the albums that stuck

Top 10 lists are intimidating. What if I miss something good? What if I don't agree with the critics? There's no way I could have heard every single disc last year. How can I be an authority?

feature

Best and Worst of 2007

The Alibi’s year in review

There's often more bad than good in the news and on the Alibi's year-end list. After searching and debating, we found this year there were a fair number of successes for our state, like publicly financed elections and the surprisingly rational decision by the Legislature to legalize medical marijuana.

film

The 10 Worst Films of 2007

Bratz: The Movie--Normally, movies based on toys are brilliant (see He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Transformers and The Care Bears Movie for reference). Not so with this dim, mixed-message “comedy” based on the whore-like prepubescent doll line.

Atonements, Assassinations, Barbers and Blood

The top 10 films of 2007

Atonement

When is a romance not a romance? When it has more on its mind than simple liplocks. This vigorous, visually poetic adaptation of Ian McEwan’s “unfilmable” World War II-era novel sets the bar high for period dramas. Not only does it feature love, betrayal, bloodshed and genuine passion (a rare element in most romances), it ponders long and hard on the power of imagination as a force both positive and negative. A great many films could be benefit from such self-reflection.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Charlie Wilson’s War

Bullets, ballots and booze

“Laws are like sausages,” states the famous aphorism by Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck. “It is better not to see them being made.” It's an appropriate quote to start off a review of the new poli-sci parody Charlie Wilson’s War, as the film spends an awful lot of time inside America's biggest sausage factory.

Television Ratings

Best TV of 2007

Battlestar Galactica: Razor (Sci-Fi)--I could just list “Battlestar Galactica.” It’s still one of the best-written, most topical series on TV. Instead, I’ll single out this movie event as a perfect example of why: gripping drama, startling plot development, powerful characters and some of the juiciest political debate you’ll find on the idiot box. ... Plus, there are spaceships.

music

Bottom 10 of 2007

Whether it was rock, pop or rap, it all sucked in ’07

If it makes Reel Big Fish happy to cling to the dream of a third-wave ska revolution, then more power to them. Still, making ska for the sake of keeping the genre alive doesn't produce the best results. Even though their songs are still upbeat as ever, I can't help but think there were some tears shed behind the scenes for a genre that once was.

The Zou

Pop music for artsy fuckers, inspired by robbery

After an ugly breakup and several robberies, Khaled Tabarra had a wealth of song-writing material.

news

White History Week

Resetting the default

What if white history and white people were excluded from society's consciousness except for a handful of days? White History Week is an effective way to ask that question, says Jered Ebenreck, one of the event's planners. "How would you feel if you had just a month for your history? It's kind of a silly notion. We have the whole year for white people."

Answer Me This

What has workers at abortion clinics citywide on high alert? Why was a fire department dispatcher arrested for? How did Albuquerque make a national list? Why is a Santa Fe County sheriff’s sergeant suing?

’07 Local Media Missteps

There were plenty of reasons to grit your teeth, cringe and curse this year thanks to Albuquerque's often lousy local media. Here is a look at a few of our favorite media snafus from 2007.

Top Stories of 2008

Forget looking back. What lies ahead?

Last year was so totally 2007. More important is what’s ahead in Aught Eight. Let’s peek around January at some of the coming year’s big stories.

The 2007 P.U.-litzer Prizes

Many journalists qualified for the annual P.U.-litzer Prizes, but only a few were able to win recognition for turning in one of the truly stinkiest media performances of the year. As the judges for this un-coveted award, we have done our best to confer this honor on the most deserving.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: New Zealand--On the weekend before Christmas, a rampaging gang of 50 or so drunken Santas plowed through a movie theater on New Zealand’s South Island. The Santas molested customers, yelled obscenities, ripped down posters and participated in other decidedly un-jolly behavior at the Hoyts Cinema complex in Christchurch. Despite video footage of the incident, police believe it will be impossible to identify participants due to their identical beards, hats and fuzzy red suits. Speculation says the Santas were a group of university students involved in a holiday prank.

art

Art Haps

The top 10 of 2007

In preparation for the end of 2007, former Arts Editor Steven Robert Allen and I sat down to talk art over hot bowls of phở. Between slurps, we traded memories of our favorite events from the past year—gallery openings, theater productions, book launches and poetry readings. After chewing on hot noodles and waning memories, we narrowed our picks down to 10. Here they are, the Alibi's top 10 art happenings for 2007, in no particular order.

Year of the Bookworm

The top 10 titles of 2007

2007 was a grim year for the book industry, but not for the books themselves. As newspapers took deep cuts out of their literary sections in a mad dash to save their business model, and the publishing industry got its last dose of Potter, a pack of terrific books traveled just below the radar. Here is a subjective list of the very best of those books (in no particular order), by my yardstick the must-reads of 2007.

food

Top Chefs and Bottom Feeders

Food stories of 2007 that amount to more than a hill of beans

A rash of recalls, high drama in the health food isles and corporate ecology wrestled in a battle royale—with cheese—for spots at the media table. Chances are it’s not the last we’ll see of them. The top food stories of 2007 are served!

Slate Street Café

This ain’t your mama’s meatloaf

Eating mom’s home cooking can be a blessing and a curse. The grub may be good but getting nagged between bites about your inability to provide grandchildren takes its toll.