Black History Month is upon us. Sadly, many of us tend to think of history in the most somber of terms. To us, Black history means riots and marches and speeches and the struggle for freedom, integration and voting rights. But men and women of African descent have contributed to all segments of our society--not just the political. Given just 28 days (29 this year!) to reflect upon the whole of Black history, most Americans tend to just hit the highlights, ignoring the subtler gifts Black people have given America in the form of literature, dance, art and film.
Diana Fletcher of the Kiowa tribe sits protected within the University of Oklahoma's Western History Collection Library. The photograph preserving her image shows signs of age—curled and frayed edges, dappled discoloration—but her face is strongly in focus and as bold as the day it was printed.
Museum will gather the story of African-Americans in the Southwest
By Marisa Demarco
People tend to think there's no African-American presence in New Mexico, says Rita Powdrell. The only time you might catch an exhibit about their history in the Southwest is during Black History Month, she adds. "But it's not in your school systems," she says. "We've been here since as long as the Spaniards have been here. We've had quite an influence on the culture of the state."
New African American Performing Arts Center starts with a bang
By Kyra Gurney
Susan Luna spent several months last year traveling around New Mexico, photographing African-American families. She snapped shots of them in their churches, schools and homes to create a portrait of the Black community across the state. Starting in February, her artwork will be on display at the African American Performing Arts Center and Exhibit Hall at Expo New Mexico to celebrate Black History Month.
All Drums film festival at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
By Devin D. O’Leary
The thing about Black history is that it’s not just Black history. Africans and the African Diaspora have interacted with and had an influence on every culture and country on Earth. The history of Black people is also the history of America, inextricably linked through good times and bad since before our nation was a nation.
There’s no doubt about it: 2007 was a very good year for the film industry in New Mexico. You don’t need to look any further than the recent Academy Award nominations to prove that. In all, 14 Oscar nominations went out to films shot here in our state. Leading the pack, of course, was the Coen brothers’ crime thriller No Country for Old Men. The film landed nominations for Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing. Tommy Lee Jones, who lent his formidable acting chops to No Country, wound up with a Best Supporting Actor nomination for another film shot here in state, Paul Haggis’ post-Iraq War mystery In The Valley of Elah. The sci-fi summer blockbuster Transformers picked up nominations for Visual Effects, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. Rounding out the honors was the Western remake 3:10 to Yuma, which was nominated for awards in Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. Not too shabby a showing.
Computers can be fun. You can play Quake 4 on them. You can download porn on them. You can use them to communicate with friends halfway around the globe. But in order for computers to be even remotely engaging, you need to be physically interacting with one. Simply sitting and staring at a computer screen is boring. In fact, it’s a hell of a lot like work. Which is why movies about computers are no fun at all. That was proved almost 13 years ago with the would-be cyber-thriller The Net. Watching Sandra Bullock sit at a computer terminal and type for an hour and a half was pretty much the opposite of thrilling. Entertaining, computer-inspired movies like Tron and The Matrix are only enjoyable because they aren’t really about computers. They’re about fictional, high-tech fantasy worlds. They're what we wish computers were really like: giant virtual-reality theme parks full of LightCycles, slo-mo kung fu fights and Monica Bellucci in a rubber dress.
It’s been nearly a month since the bulk of TV’s talkers came back to the airwaves, many of them flaunting the still-active Writers Guild of America strike. David Letterman’s “Late Show” and Craig Ferguson’s “Late Late Show” (both of which are produced by Letterman’s Worldwide Pants company) were able to negotiate an independent contract with the Writers Guild, allowing them to operate with their writing staffs and without union pickets on their sidewalks. The rest of the lot--including Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, John Stewart and Steven Colbert--have had to do without benefit of the union blessing, making for a whole list of winners and losers.
"My biggest fear as a parent," confesses a first-time father and YouTube documentarian, "was that I would have to spend the next several years of my life listening to Barney or The Wiggles." He was spared that fate, he says, by Dan Zanes, a Brooklynite folk-rocker who crafts children's music that parents are equally mad for. On Dan Zanes and Friends’ 2006 Catch That Train!—probably the first “children’s music” disc you could pick up at Starbucks, thanks to a deal with the coffee juggernaut's Hear Music entertainment division—Zanes' friends include Nick Cave, The Kronos Quartet, Natalie Merchant and The Blind Boys of Alabama. When Zanes plays the National Hispanic Cultural Center this Wednesday, Feb. 6, his friends will be of the home-grown variety (I’m just not sure who, at this point). Bring the wee ones out for this concert. For once, it's not overreaching to say the whole family will enjoy it. Cost is $15 advance, $20 at the door for adults, and $10 advance, $15 at the door for children under 12, through TicketMaster and the NHCC box office (with no service fee, 724-4771). The show starts at 6:30 p.m.
Over the years, music director, trumpeter and gentleman Wynton Marsalis has maneuvered several smaller craft—a quartet, a quintet and a septet—through New Mexico's jazz waters. Next week, he’ll dock the quindectet Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the flagship of that New York institution, in Albuquerque for a program of Duke Ellington’s love songs. One thing is for sure: The evening will swing.
I just got word from Derek Caterwaul that the Little Women show slated for Thursday, Jan. 31, won't be happening—the guitarist developed tendonitis while touring, and won't be driving in for the show. But I did a perfectly good interview with the experimental punky jazz quartet from Brooklyn, and thought I'd tell you about them anyway. Little Women balances tight, turn-on-a-dime changes with a rowdy, frantic energy, a kind of unpolished polish I'll call spit-shined. Take in the frenetic, bursty approach at myspace.com/littlewomensounds. Little Women's first recording, Teeth, will be out March 4 on Gilgongo and Sockets records.
"The person on the other line said someone had bombed the clinic. No one was hurt, and they'd let me know when there was a plan," Amanda says. "For about three seconds, I thought, Oh good, I don't have to work today. Then I just gasped when it hit me." Amanda declined to use her last name, because it could make her a target, she says.
Lobbyists drop big bucks on politicians. Is it Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama for New Mexicans? What did someone steal from "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"? How high could UNM's entry GPA requirement go?
Report says there are alternatives to the Desert Rock power plant
By Kyra Gurney
Navajo grassroots organizations continue to chip away at a Desert Rock coal-fired plant. Meanwhile, supporters maintain the proposed power plant will provide much-needed revenue for the Navajo Nation. The latest installment in the battle is 160 pages long.
Will the city make improvements to its STOP program, or will red-light cameras wink out of existence?
By Marisa Demarco
A task force appointed by Mayor Martin Chavez says if problems with the red-light camera program aren't fixed, it should be discarded. Ted Shogry, a task force staff member, reported to the City Council at its Wednesday, Jan. 23, meeting. "The study group had one main recommendation, and that basically is to continue the STOP Program, but to improve it."
A Texas company that stirred controversy with plans to produce oil near Santa Fe has been exploring for natural gas on Albuquerque’s Southwest Mesa. Tecton Energy of Houston won’t say what it’s found after six months of exploration. But the company is punching more wells into the ground to pursue its hunch that the area holds valuable quantities of natural gas.
An independent researcher on political assassinations, covert operations and hidden history, John Judge calls himself an “alternative historian.” I liken myself to an “a-historian,” whose only noble crusade is to correct the miseducation of me.
Dateline: Australia--On Jan. 22, a man in his late 20s was attacked by an alligator near a popular tourist spot on the Mary River in Northern Australia. To add insult to injury, unlucky Jason Grant also ended up getting shot by a rescuer who was trying to free him from the reptile’s jaws. Grant was collecting crocodile eggs at a remote reptile farm when he found his arm locked between the teeth of an angry alligator. For a few terrifying moments, the animal “splashed about,” shaking its victim before the intervention of fellow worker Zac Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald fired two shots at the saltwater croc. One hit the target, but the other struck Grant in the arm. Grant was flown by helicopter from Marraki Station, 75 miles east of Darwin, to the Royal Darwin Hospital for emergency surgery on both the bite and bullet wounds. He was reported to be in stable condition following his treatment. “They think he’s probably got a broken arm and soft tissue damage from the bites and he’s got a bullet wound on the upper part of the arm,” Mick Burns, owner of the Darwin Crocodile Farm, told news.com.au. “His first words to me were: ‘I don't think I’ll be at work for a couple of days.’ ”
The First Friday in February brings art events galore. As with every first Friday of the month, Feb. 1, plays host to gallery openings and receptions all over the Duke City. The number of venues participating is too great to list here, so visit the Albuquerque Art Business Association's website (www.artscrawlabq.org) for full details. Most galleries will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. tonight and offer snacks, art and fine conversation.
Soul Expressions at the South Broadway Cultural Center
By Amy Dalness
Evan Harrison has a knack for mixing business and hobby. In elementary school, he made drawings of horses and Pokémon to sell to fellow classmates. In junior high, he used Sharpies to create temporary tattoos during lunch hour. (Now he gets requests for real tattoo designs.) All through school, he made a few bucks by doing what he loves—making art.
One of my favorite things about the Pajama Men--the funnyman duo made up of über-buddies Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez--is that on visits back to their hometown (that would be Albuquerque) they go out of their way to set up shows in new, little-known venues. Such is the case with a new live improv comedy and music show at The Stove, an art gallery and performance venue located in the fertile terrain of East Nob Hill.
What’s up with the expression about “one bad apple?” I mean, I guess I understand what it means because I’m looking at my stash of rotten apples from last fall. But why is it that one bad apple can ruin the whole batch?
—Sister Apple Sludge
A: Dear SAS,
Ripening fruit gives off a gas called ethylene, which acts like a plant hormone because it induces physiological changes in plant cells. Like yawns, colds and other contagion, ethylene can cause a self-fueling chain reaction among fruit that’s kept in close proximity to other fruit in a non-ventilated space. For the most dramatic example of ethylene in action, try wrapping a banana in plastic and see how fast it ripens itself.
Guy Nix may very well be the devil. Hell, he even has his own fiery pit. But instead of tortured souls and brimstone, his is brimming with blazing barbecue that sends wafts of smoky temptation through a modest dining room on Juan Tabo.
There have been days when we’ve cursed the Rocky Mountains for keeping the Colorado beers we love (and those we think we could love, if that love were only given a chance) from reaching us—silver bullet indeed. Of course, we know it’s not the breweries' fault we can’t drink their beer. It’s just economics and geography. Still, it makes us sad.
By now, well into the fourth week of January, your dreams of triumph in New Year’s self-improvement are fading with the abruptness of each passing day. Your envisioned fresh start now dissolves into the annual realization that you are still you, and not much actually changed between December and January. Sure, you may long for self-improvement, but can it be scheduled according to the whims of the Gregorian calendar? Maybe for the responsible and disciplined--but face it, that's not you. It's time to embrace the glory in failure, and with this, learn to exploit nonsuccess.
New Mexico hotline aims to aid and inform soldiers
By Marisa Demarco
Jorge Arroyo served in the United States military for eight years. The Puerto Rican-born serviceman was on active duty in the Army until 2004, then joined the Air National Guard. He's been stationed in Kentucky, Germany, Kuwait and Baghdad.
UNM's hype man pockets how much? A stem-cell measure in the Legislature allows researchers to do what? What ABC reality show is zooming in on Albuquerque? Why is the Frontier taking our 3 a.m. cinnamon roll away from us?
English as a Second Language classes help immigrants adjust to living in the United States
By Kyra Gurney
Six students sit around a low table, discussing Elvis Presley in halting English. It's Tuesday evening, and most have come to class after a long day of work. Jose Hernandez is still wearing paint-splattered pants from his construction job. The students lean forward as their instructor, Mark Ortega, holds up a picture of The King and asks slowly, "Who has ever heard his music?"
Driving through downtown Albuquerque last weekend, many of us were startled to see scenes of near-total devastation. Entire blocks of our city streets had apparently suffered a catastrophe of immense proportions. Dozens of burned-out cars, trucks and city buses were strewn around like toys in a sandbox amid overturned chunks of concrete pavement blown apart by some great force.
Dateline Bulgaria--Two brothers have divided their family home with barbed wire after suing each other more than 200 times. Taso Hadjiev, 74, and his brother Asen, 75, from the town of Malka Arda first sued each other in 1968 in a dispute over land left to them by their dead parents. Since then, the brothers have had regular fall outs ending in litigation. Neither has been able to move out of the home as all their income has gone toward paying lawyers. Neighbor Sabka Shehova said, “They’ve been at it for years. They go to court for any old reason they can dream up--and none of it is ever true. They just want to sue each other. They’ve been at it so long, they can barely remember what they first went to court over.”
The season of love is upon us, which means the Alibi's fifth annual Valentine's Day Card Contest is here. All you creative-minded people yearning for the opportunity to pour your heart into a Valentine's Day card and have it read by all of the Duke City, well, here it is! Glue, paste, draw, dribble, paint, shellac or silk-screen your way into our judges' hearts on a surface no larger than 8.5 x 11 inches. Whichever cards make the judges swoon will be published in the Feb. 7 issue of the Alibi and their creators will receive super-sexy date packages (including dinner, a movie, chocolate and more). All entries must be received by 5 p.m. this Friday, Jan. 25, and only one entry per person will be accepted. Cupid commands you.
New Mexico’s Crypto-Jews: Image and Memory by Cary Herz
By Lisa Lenard-Cook
The Art is OK Gallery, tucked between Cost Plus and Guitar Boy, might seem an odd venue for Cary Herz’ photographs of New Mexico crypto-Jews. But the crowd there for the opening of her show, which runs through Feb. 11, didn't seem to think so. An eclectic mix hailing from Albuquerque’s Jewish, Hispanic, literary and art communities, the group stood quietly as Herz explained how her photos and their companion book, New Mexico’s Crypto-Jews: Image and Memory, just published by UNM Press, came to be.
Maybe it began with the watercolor landscape of a New Mexican sunset you picked up at a garage sale. Or the antique portrait found while cleaning out your grandmother's attic. Maybe it’s just something you've always wanted to do, and this year you're gonna make it happen.
Prolific, self-published author Mark St. George is bringing his cinematic writing/directing/producing debut Alexander--Hero of Heroes to the Guild Cinema on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 1 p.m. as a fundraiser for the charity America’s Fallen Heroes Fund. The film is a videotaped version of St. George’s 2006 stageplay about Macedonian conquerer Alexander the Great and is described thusly: “As classical Greek tragedy, it’s the all-time Super Bowl, where the five-star quarterback gets killed at the end.” The film stars WWE wrestler Hawk Younkins. Tickets for this event are $10, and attendees are encouraged to donate to America’s Fallen Heroes Fund. Through similar screenings around the country, the charity hopes to raise $40 million, which will be given to families of servicemen and -women who have died in Iraq or Afghanistan. For more information on America’s Fallen Heroes, log on to www.americasfallenheroesfund.com. For more info on Mark St. George’s unique works (his “multimedia musical” about Montezuma is described as “The O.G. Rumble in the Jungle”), check out www.proteusla.com.
There’s something wonderful about painter-turned-filmmaker Julian Schnabel’s impressionistic biopic The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. But there’s also something vaguely frustrating in this soft-focus ode to imagination and Frenchy joie de vivre. Perhaps it’s simply a byproduct of the subject at hand, real-life Elle magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, who suffered a massive stroke, became completely paralyzed and still managed to dictate his entire biography before dropping dead at age 44.
While a TV series about the ups and downs of the meth-dealing business might not seem like the best on-screen exposure for New Mexico, AMC’s new series “Breaking Bad” manages to be, arguably, the most true-to-life version of our fair state to date.
Seeing how the topic is fake bands, and Keller Williams and the WMDs are coming through town this week, it's pretty serendipitous that Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo just happens to be debuting in Albuquerque on Tuesday. Primus bass-master Les Claypool wrote, directed and stars in this mock rockumentary chronicling the highs (cough) and lows of a jam band reaching for cult status in the jam circuit.
If these guys became rockstars, you sure as hell can
By Maren Tarro and Laura Marrich
There are a multitude of phony-baloney "bands" that have made the jump from fiction to radio. Bands that blurred the line between fantasy and reality so effectively that even Stephen Hawking’s sexy Speak and Spell voice can’t explain the phenomenon.
Oh, the hoops some restaurants will jump through to separate diners from their dough. There are sports-themed joints that feature big-screen monuments to full-contact manliness, medieval battlegrounds that mix chowing with jousting, and booby-based dens of iniquity, to name a few.
Conquer fear in the kitchen with New World Provence
By Simon McCormack
I felt a foreboding lump form in the pit of my stomach. Being asked to cook any meal would have worried me, but I was given the assignment to prepare French food—one of the more intimidating culinary forms in existence. As someone who relies primarily on fast food for calories and never cooks anything more complicated than store-bought pasta, I knew I was in for a challenge.
At least they nailed the “something borrowed” part
By Devin D. O’Leary
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.
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.
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.
Little-known law allows those who dine to take home unfinished fruit of the vine
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tricklock Company presents the Eighth Annual Revolutions International Theatre Festival
By Amy Dalness
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.
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.
Raw-boned American saga ditches melodrama for elemental filmmaking
By Devin D. O’Leary
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.
“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.
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.
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.
Flutist James Newton and pianist Jon Jang forge a musical brotherhood
By Mel Minter
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.