Alibi V.17 No.9 • Feb 28-March 5, 2008

Next in Line

What you don’t know about the governor’s right-hand woman

Diane Denish may look unassuming—cropped blond hair and frameless glasses accent a face you might recognize on your neighbor, or your friend’s mom, or your real estate agent—but throughout the last year, she’s been your acting governor more than a handful of times. As New Mexico’s lieutenant governor (her first elected position), Denish takes over when Big Bill is away, and in 2010, she may be taking over for good if she wins the race she’s already entered for his office.

news

Unkind Bud

How legal is medical marijuana in New Mexico?

On Sept. 4, Leonard French had some unexpected visitors.

When he opened his door, French came face-to-face with Eddy County Sheriff's deputies, who said they wanted to see his marijuana. French, a Malaga, New Mexico, resident who suffers from chronic back pain, showed the deputies his supply and a license from the New Mexico Health Department that allows him to possess medical marijuana. The deputies took French's marijuana and left.

Answer Me This

What did a man and his daughter find on their bike ride? Who's clogging the courts? A first at the Albuquerque Aquarium. And who helped slap the cuffs on a serial robber?

Martha Calls it a Day

Longtime Nob Hill shop prepares to shut its doors

Martha Doster folds a brown velvety scarf for a tall, stern-looking man. She places it carefully in a small gift box, humming along to the Sting song that's on the store's speakers. It's a busy day in the little shop that's been a staple in the Nob Hill area for more than three decades. Everything is on sale for 40 percent off or more. As the last days wear on, the discounts will go deeper.

Heavy Metal

The city says a sculpture’s base weighs too much for Civic Plaza

The city’s latest public art controversy has nothing to do with style or subject matter. It’s all about weight. And process.

Thin Line

Last Saturday, the Albuquerque Tribune published its final issue, and in its dying gasps, it may have breathed new life into a community thirsting for alternative media.

The Taste of Hope

Albuquerque’s Altela holds the promise of clean water for millions of people

Ned Godshall hands me a glass of water. I pause to consider the origin of this drink: a holding tank of foul, dark, brackish slop from a natural gas well.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Israel--Earthquakes are gay. At least that’s what a member of Israel’s parliament believes. Six earthquakes have hit Israel and the neighboring nations of Lebanon and Jordan in recent months. Shlomo Benizri, of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Shas party, has suggested the tremors are being caused by his country’s liberal laws on homosexuality. The Israeli parliament, or Knesset, decriminalized homosexuality in 1988 and has passed several laws on the subject since, including decisions to recognize same-sex marriages carried out abroad and granting inheritance rights and other benefits held by married couples to gay partnerships. Two weeks ago, to the outrage of the religious right, the country’s attorney general, Meni Mazuz, ruled same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt children. In what Mr. Benizri believes is no coincidence, an earthquake struck the region two days later. “Why do earthquakes happen?” Benizri said during a parliamentary debate on earthquake preparedness. “One of the reasons is the things to which the Knesset gives legitimacy, to sodomy.” Benizri told his fellow legislators the most cost-effective way of preventing future earthquakes was to stop “passing legislation on how to encourage homosexual activity in the state of Israel, which anyway brings about earthquakes.” The London Telegraph quoted Benizri as saying, “God says you shake your genitals where you are not supposed to and I will shake my world in order to wake you up.”

music

Music to Your Ears

Regular readers of the alibi.com blog already know it, and now you do, too. Seminal Albuquerque punk trio Scared of Chaka is reuniting for one show on March 28, at the Washoe Club in Virginia City, Nev. It's the first time Yanul Hernandez (now known far and wide as Dave Hernandez), Dameon Waggoner (now Dameon Lee) and Ron Skrasek (still Ron Skrasek) have played together in 10 years. You have questions. I have answers.

VxPxC

Improved psych myth-makers map their way to the desert

It began with a lie.

VxPxC created the legend that the band had found all its music in a box hidden away in a closet corner. Slowly, the band was releasing the material, members claimed, unearthing it and offering it up to the world. "We got a couple calls from record labels that were like, Oh, we wanna hear all the box set and think about releasing it," says VxPxCer Grant Capes. There's a big interest right now in found material, he adds. Bandmate Justin McInteer commented on an art gallery website that the myth was all a big joke. "That got a lot of people mad," Capes says.

The Everybodyfields

Putting the alt. in alt.country

What is it that separates alt.country from its unpunctuated counterpart? Is "alt." just something new artists attach to their brand of country to keep people from picturing Toby Keith? For the Everybodyfields' Jill Andrews, the alt. is the rough edges.

Jonathan Meiburg

He's letting you into his room

During our phone interview, singer/songwriter and avid bird watcher Jonathan Meiburg asks to halt our conversation. "Hang on just a second," Meiburg says. "I'm looking at this bird and I can't tell what it is." After fumbling with his binoculars for a moment, Meiburg exclaims, "Oh, it's an osprey! That's what I thought it was."

film

Reel World

Curious what New Mexico’s homegrown filmmakers are up to? Friends of Film, Video and Arts will present an evening of short films by professional New Mexico film artists on Friday, Feb. 29. Among the films scheduled to be shown on the big screen are “Director’s Cut New Mexico: The Art of Storytelling” produced by Rebecca Dakota, “Susan Klebanoff--Waves” produced by Anton Kozikowski, “Black Eagle Flying Free” produced by Brad Stoddard, “Cycling” produced by Ken Knoll, “The Truth About Walden Matussey” produced by Tim Boughn, “Climate Change: What It Means for New Mexico” produced by Anton Kozikowski and “Teardrop” produced by Fritz Eberle. Following the screening will be a Q&A session with the filmmakers. This event will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at UNM’s Continuing Ed North Building (1634 University). Admission is $19 or $10 for Friends of Film, Video and Arts members. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to FoFVA, a local organization working in conjunction with Harwood Arts to support local, grassroots filmmakers. For more information on the event or the organization, log on to www.filmvideoarts.org.

City of Men

When is a sequel not a sequel?

One of the reasons City of Men isn’t quite as good as Fernando Meirelles’ 2002 film City of God may be that the two are only loosely related. City of Men covers much the same ground as City of God, features the same two actors, has almost the exact same title and feels--for all the world--like a direct sequel. But it’s not. It’s actually based on a 2004 Brazilian TV series directed by Paulo Morelli. That series was based on a short film from 2000 called “Palace II.” That short was based on a novel by Brazilian writer Paolo Lins. That book was the primordial inspiration for both City of Men and City of God--hence the loose relationship.

Meeting Resistance

One, two, three, four, what are they fighting for?

The year 2007 saw a flood, a spate, a “surge” if you will of films about America’s so-called War on Terror. Few of them made much of an impression on the box office, proving Americans are so weary of the conflict they don’t want to face it at their local cineplex. But to paraphrase one of Jon Stewart’s better jokes from the Academy Awards, we can’t back down now. If we stop making war movies, then the audiences have won!

Truth in Adjectives

“Unbeatable Banzuke” on G4

I’m starting to think no nation on Earth understands the Idiot Box better than Japan. Granted, we only see the tiniest sliver of Japanese programming here in America. But every minute of it just makes me want to consume more. Sure, there are probably plenty of boring news shows and the like in Tokyo, but I imagine prime time there to be a wonderland of frantic anime, hilarious commercials involving American celebrities and inscrutable game shows in which contestants are placed in constant mortal danger.

art

Culture Shock

Part of The Cradle Project's mission to raise money for orphans in sub-Saharan Africa includes filling a warehouse with 1,000 cradles and cribs made by artists from around the world. The original warehouse space was a 20,000-square-foot building in the railyard that was once a locomotive repair shop. The lease of the space to Albuquerque Studios has changed the plan slightly.

Waiting Out the Fog

Life During Wartime at UNM's Theatre X

Perhaps the wisest words ever uttered by Franklin D. Roosevelt were "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” In today's culture, we could sure use a dose of that idiom, straight down the gullet without a sugary chaser.

Zimbabwe Through a Lens

When a Crocodile Eats the Sun author Peter Godwin

It would require some luck to peg the trim, thoughtfully bearded 50-year-old man sitting in the fading afternoon light as a foreign correspondent. Indeed, dressed in a sweater and jeans, wearing pink argyle socks that flash as he crosses a leg, Peter Godwin seems about as far from a war zone as one can get in a room of ceiling-high bookcases and an elegant symmetry of lamps and décor. In its lush, ordered calm, this salon is a world apart. Even Manhattan's nearby West Side Highway has been reduced to a soft whisper.

food

The Black One

At its inception, Imperial Stout was a savage concoction. The Russian czars’ thirst for stouts could not be quenched, and English and Irish producers couldn’t produce beer that would survive the brutal cold of a month-long trip to St. Petersburg. Their answer was a beer that could withstand any voyage; a brew so high in alcohol that it would not spoil, and so flavorful from roasted malts that it would still taste amazing in the event that it did. Imagine bulging barrels of viscous beer the color of crude oil, hefted deftly one after another by British maritime brutes. Cargo hulls full of alcoholic ballast destined for the dead city of the Eastern Lords …

Wimpy’s

A rose by any other name

From its humble and often disputed beginnings to its rise as America’s iconic gastronomic offering, the hamburger is a symbol of everything that’s right and wrong with this nation. It stands for the New World transformation of immigrant foods, and for our country’s rapidly expanding waistlines. Hamburgers illustrate the American dream of mastering capitalism through hard work and ingenuity, or the American habit of overindulgence and instant gratification. Either way, there’s no getting around how tasty they are.

Captain Capsaicin

Pepper guru Dave DeWitt gets fired up for the National Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show's 20th anniversary

The hot and spicy business is smokin'. This year's National Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show—held at the Sandia Resort and Casino Ballroom this weekend—is expected to draw 14,000 people. That's in contrast to 20 years ago, when the first Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show made a profit of just $100. But it was a profit nonetheless, and the number of people in attendance has increased every year since. "The one thing about people who like hot and spicy," says the show's organizer, Dave DeWitt, "is they don't suddenly wake up and say, Oh, I used to like it hot and spicy, but now I'm going back to bland. They just don't do that." The New Mexico author and figurehead for all things hot sat down with the Alibi to figure out why.

Alibi V.17 No.8 • Feb 21-27, 2008

feature

No Home Runs in This Strike

Tallying the results of the Writers Guild Strike

When the 80th Annual Academy Awards arrive this Sunday, they will cap off one of the most tumultuous roller-coaster years in Hollywood history. A summer bloated with record-breaking, mega-budget films (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Transformers) gave way to a fall filled with exceptional, challenging cinema (No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood). But it was the Writers Guild of America strike--beginning on Nov. 5, 2007, and concluding on Feb. 12, 2008--that threw our entertainment picture into a tizzy.

Winners and Losers

Editorializing on the Oscars

Despite the long-looming threat of the Writer’s Guild strike, the 2008 Oscars are looking like a fine affair. Had WGA members not approved their most recent contract negotiations, the Academy Awards would have been reduced to a star-free, writer-starved clip show. (Nobody out there wants a repeat of the Golden Globes. Shudder.) But the strike is over, allowing nominees to attend guilt-free and returning host Jon Stewart to rely on a full staff of writers to pen his off-the-cuff quips.

80 th Annual Academy Awards Ballot

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Atonement (BAFTA, GG) Vegas Odds: 10/1
Juno (BFCA, SA) Vegas Odds: 15/1
Michael Clayton Vegas Odds: 8/1
No Country for Old Men (BSFC, BFCA, COFCA, CFCA, DFWFCA, FFCC, LVFCS, NBR, NYFCC, OFCS, PFCS, SDFCS, SA, SEFCA, TFCA, WAFCA) Vegas Odds: 2/5

news

Answer Me This

Hey, lunch lady, what's this on my tray? Who got deported from Roswell? What pulled the plug on red-light cameras? How much do taxpayers spend on spokespeople?

Thin Line

Nobody knew it was coming. Nobody knew Stephen Kazmierczak was going to walk into that oceanography classroom and kill five people. Just like no one suspected something so random and atrocious was going to happen all the other times it's happened in the U.S.

Making Sausage

Here are the greasy links your Legislature did—and didn’t—grind out for you

They say it isn't pretty, making laws. A bill gets introduced, vetted in a series of committees, brought to the floor of the House or Senate and voted on. For a measure to become a law, to leave the state Legislature and become part of New Mexicans' lives, it has to pass both the House and Senate. Then the governor has to sign it.

Make it Longer

Legislators couldn’t make anything happen in this 30-day session. Why not add a few days?

It's a good thing Gov. Richardson is dragging the Legislature back to work on his health care package. Too bad he couldn't demand they sit in those legislative seats until they got some other work done, too.

Selling Health Care Reform

Gov. Richardson is upset the Legislature didn’t pass his proposal for health care reform and is threatening to call it back into Special Session to do just that. I have some advice for him (not that he has ever asked for it): Don’t.

How I Became a Skeptic

I was not always a skeptic. For much of my childhood, in fact, I was a strong believer in most things paranormal and New Age.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: China--The price of hamsters has tripled in China since the start of 2008--designated by Chinese astrology as the Year of the Rat. The tiny rodents are considered lucky in the wake of Chinese New Year. The Chinese word for rat, laoshu, covers a variety of animals that can include kangaroo rats, hamsters and moles. Pet shops have been selling out of the animals, even at comparatively high prices of 30 yuan (nearly $5) per hamster. The Xinhua news agency identified hamsters as having a better image than rats or mice, and being more companionable as pets.

art

Culture Shock

Although glitter from our Valentine's Day Card Contest still lingers on the floor of my office, it’s time again for you creative types to submit to another Alibi-exclusive competition. Yup, our fifth annual Photo Contest is officially in swing. This year's hoop-de-do is open to all styles of photography and unbound by categories, making it a photo free-for-all. Are you submittin' yet? Good. E-mail your digital images to amy@alibi.com or snail mail a few prints to Alibi Photo Contest, 2118 Central SE PMB 151, Albuquerque, N.M. 87106. All entries must be received by Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 5 p.m. There is a maximum of five photos per person. Winning entries will be reproduced in our March 13 issue and the photographers will receive prize packs to make any shutterbug swoon. Submit!

Alone in the Dark

Madagascar at the Cell Theatre

No, this isn’t a live-action version of the computer-animated film from 2005. You remember the one, right? With the usual menagerie of cutesy but annoying animals voiced by the likes of Ben Stiller and Chris Rock?

film

Reel World

Looking for something to do on Monday, Feb. 25? Well, you could help make a Hollywood movie. The feature film Love Ranch, directed by Taylor Hackford (Ray) and starring Helen Mirren (The Queen) and Joe Pesci (Casino), will be shooting a period boxing sequence at Tingley Coliseum on the Expo New Mexico grounds. Doors open at 7 a.m. and producers are hoping to pack the venue. The film is set in the ’70s, so willing extras are asked to “look their ’70s best.” Prizes will be awarded for best ’70s hair, best ’70s wardrobe and best ’70s car. I suggest everyone arrive wearing purple glitter hot pants, rainbow suspenders and a silver afro wig. That’ll make the film look extra ’70s!

Vantage Point

In the year of the Writers Guild strike, do we really need a movie made entirely of reruns?

Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 film Rashomon features one of the most borrowed/refigured/ripped-off/homaged plot structures in the history of movies. In it, a heinous crime is committed. Four people have witnessed the crime. Each one tells their own version of events. Each person has a different perspective on things. As the story gets repeated, each witness adds more and more details. In the end, which version, if any, is “the truth”?

We’re Baaaack

WGA strike is history

Our long, national, TV-watching nightmare is finally over! The Writers Guild strike is at an end. Last Tuesday night, WGA members agreed to a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Writers were back on the job first thing Wednesday morning. So what does that mean for our favorite shows?

Big-Screen Jumper

An interview with author Steven Gould

Steven Gould sat typing on his white, Linux laptop—just another customer at Satellite Coffee in Nob Hill enjoying a leisurely Friday morning. His fingers flashed over the keys, preparing a post for his blog, An Unconvincing Narrative. The topic: A review published on Salon.com analyzing the political undertones within the multimillion-dollar film based on Gould's novel, Jumper. "Now I've arrived," the Albuquerque-native jokes, closing the laptop before giving the Alibi a moment of his time. His T-shirt, perhaps, best encompasses the tone of the interview to follow. "Don't judge a book by its movie," it reads. And that's exactly what Gould is banking on.

Definitely, Maybe

Cute and cuddly rom-com tells it like it sort of is

You might not think watching a guy seduce a trio of women for 90 minutes would make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, but that’s how I felt after watching Definitely, Maybe.

music

Music to Your Ears

Since there's no Best Band in Rio Rancho category in this year's Best of Burque poll, it's up to bands in The R to duke it out themselves for scene supremacy. (I'm starting a grassroots campaign to re-brand Rio Rancho "The R." It's just as tacky and insipid as paying a PR firm to christen Albuquerque "The Q," and if people in The Q have to suffer, everyone else should, too. While we're at it, join me in reducing New Mexico to one "colorful" and buzz-generating letter, "The X." Maybe we can trick Jessica Alba into coming back to the most mysterious state in The USA.)

The Church of Beethoven

Free coffee, intimate space and seat-of-the-pants presentation make for a charming Sunday morning communion

Don’t bother looking for a steeple. Keep your eyes peeled, instead, for a yellowish surfboard with hand-lettered, coral-colored block capitals that read “B E E T H O V E N.”

food

Oscar Noshing

Following on the heels of another big awards show, we present a stupefying hors d'oeuvre.

Jasmine Thai and Sushi House

No pain, no gain

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting alone in a booth at the back of Jasmine Thai. I was enjoying a quiet meal in the dim dining room, trying to decide if I liked Asian pop music as it drifted down from above, and wondering if I should convert to Buddhism. Pondering the Eightfold Path and wishing I knew what the hell that ridiculously upbeat song was about, my evening was nearly perfect. But I couldn’t stop crying.

Alibi V.17 No.7 • Feb 14-20, 2008

Convincing Yourself—and Others—You Talk to the Dead

On Jan. 31, I woke up to hear a man named Robert Baca on the 94 Rock Morning Show claiming to talk to the dead. He did readings for TJ Trout and the 94 Rock crew and their callers, offering what sometimes seemed to be “amazingly accurate” information from beyond the grave, such as telling subjects that they owned a deceased loved one’s ring or that the subject had a “father figure” whose name has a “B” and who died suddenly.

feature

Poly (Greek, "Multiple") Amor (Latin, "Love")

The language of love morphs when you're working outside monogamy

“Compersion.” It's a word that describes happiness at seeing a partner get joy from someone else—almost the opposite of jealousy. Monogamous lovers might hesitate to imagine feeling anything aside from anger at the sight of their other half being loved by someone else. But compersion is a kind of fulfillment gained by the polyamorous, those who maintain honest, committed romantic relationships with more than one person.

film

Reel World

ABQ arts org Basement Films will sponsor a two-night screening of “under-represented motion media” this weekend. On Friday, Feb. 15, highlights from Experiments in Cinema v1.0 and v2.0 will be shown. This 81-minute program will feature representative selections from the first two years of UNM lecturer Bryan Konefsky’s experimental film festival (about to enter its third year this April). The second night, Saturday, will be “The Personality of the Personnel,” which will spotlight short works by various members and volunteers of Basement Films from the past 16 years. This highly eclectic selection will include works by Maximillian Godino, Charla Barker, Bryan Konefsky, Saul Rodgar, Tyrrell Cummings, Sarah Wentzel-Fisher and more. Saturday night will conlude with “Fellah, Can You Amass?” featuring a variety of film and video projectors tangling their images in a go-for-broke montage. Both nights will take place at VSA North Fourth Art Center (4904 Fourth Street NW) beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are a mere $7 at the door. Log on to www.basementfilm.org for more info.

The Spiderwick Chronicles

Dark, emotional fantasy isn’t just for kids

In an era when kids’ films seem almost as creatively bankrupt as romantic comedies, it’s refreshing (dare I say exciting) to find one that swims against the tide. The Spiderwick Chronicles, based on the popular young adult book series by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, would seem at first glance to exist among the idea-starved crowd. A kids’ fantasy series in a day and age when all youth-seeking lit seems to cower in the shadow of Harry Potter? Though it features a trio of plucky, prepubescent heroes and a whole host of magical creatures, Spiderwick weaves its own unique spell.

Jumper

Fast-paced sci-fi thriller may have a franchise in mind

Neatly vacuformed to a colorful cardboard backdrop, the sci-fi freneticism of Jumper is as slickly packaged as this year’s must-have action figure. And that isn’t meant as an insult. Honestly. The film may be geared toward providing easily accessible entertainment for the masses, but it does so in such an appealing way that plenty of people will be rushing to get their hands on it.

Disorder in the Court

“Eli Stone” on ABC

Given the length of Hollywood’s Writers Guild strike, its rare enough to see new episodes of any (non-reality) TV series these days, let alone a brand-new offering. With carefully hoarded TiVo shows long ago watched and erased, viewers are desperate for something--anything--fresh in prime time. ABC recently responded by ripping the wrapping off its quirky legal comedy/drama “Eli Stone.”

art

Culture Shock

AMP Concerts' home shows may be no more, but Neal Copperman is making sure AMP-quality shows will be found in the Duke City. The AMP Gallery Series continues where the house concerts left off, offering a variety of music in an informal, community fashion (with a potluck to boot) at a local art gallery. This Friday, Feb. 15, AMP presents Caji and Salomé at the Windchime Champagne Gallery (518 Central SW) at 7:30 p.m. Caji and Salomé meld Brazilian guitar with songs from Portugal, Cuba, South America, Cabo Verde and France, creating sophisticated, romantic grooves. Tickets are $15 in advance at Brownpapertickets.com or Bookworks (4022 Rio Grande NW) and $20 at the door.

food

Good Sauce Trumps Bad Marinade

Q: Dear Ari,

Can you recommend a good marinade for wild game?

—Got Game

A: Ah, yes, hunting season might be over but the eating continues! On any day countless lucky hunters, plus their lucky families and friends, are thawing out chunks of wild meat. Some know what to do with it, some don’t.

In my opinion, my opinion means nothing compared to that of Angus Cameron, author of The L.L. Bean Game and Fish Cookbook. Let me just say that he is the man.

Papa Nachos

Authentically good

Restaurant criticism has a fairly straightforward formula: Do your homework, visit the restaurant a few times and sample as much of the menu as possible. Keep an eye out for ambience and service and, voila!, you have our jobs in a walnut shell. But even with a rubric, the hard part comes from sitting in front of a blank computer screen, cursor blinking impatiently for input. Analyzing the latest in a string of mom-and-pop joints weighs heavily, because it's not only reputations that are at stake—it's livelihoods. People in the business of serving families have their own mouths to feed. And usually it's those families that are back there cooking, waiting tables and washing dishes.

Tickle Your Fancy, Suckle a Truffle

The Alibi chocolate truffle taste test

It's high truffle season—not the highly prized, exorbitantly priced fungus (that's October through December), but the highly prized, less exorbitantly priced little morsels of cocoa, sugar and cream. Chocolate truffles.

Host a Chocolate-Tasting Party

1) Pick a theme. We settled on milk chocolate truffles, but you could also try comparing chocolate from different countries of origin, chocolate bars within the same cocoa percentage range, exotic spice-spiked chocolate candies or maybe a spectrum of chocolates made by a single maker. Choose between five and 10 examples--much more and you run the risk of fatiguing your palate. (Your tastebuds’ equivalent of going cross-eyed.)

Food 101

bittersweet chocolate: Dark chocolate that contains a minimum of 35 percent chocolate liquor and less than 12 percent milk solids. Bittersweet and semisweet both fall under this definition, but bittersweet is also often used for chocolate with a minimum of 50 percent chocolate liquor.

news

Still in the Pound

City misrepresents the number of animal adoptions over the holidays

Albuquerque Journal subscribers woke up Christmas Eve morning, stepped outside and scooped up their daily papers. The headline on the bottom left-hand corner of the front page stated, simply, “Animal Shelters Are Empty.” That title was, at best, misleading.

Answer Me This

Who was one Albuquerque homeowner trying to scare off with his shotgun? The Senate killed the domestic partnership bill, but what would it have done? What did legislators find at the Governor's Office after passing the budget? New Mexico Democrats are fudging which rules to speed up ballot counting?

Convincing Yourself—and Others—You Talk to the Dead [extended web version]

On Jan. 31, 2008, I woke up bleary-eyed. My beauty sleep had already been interrupted several hours earlier by my aborted appearance on a live radio morning show in Kingston, Jamaica, which had been scheduled at the unfortunate hour of 4:30 a.m. Albuquerque time. I won’t go into the details, but the point is I was kind of fuzzy-headed when my radio alarm woke me up at 7:30 that Thursday morning and I heard 94 Rock’s TJ Trout talking about how he would soon be having a guest in the studio who could talk to the dead.

The Heinrich Maneuver

And Darren’s white horse

For most of 2007, former City Councilor Martin Heinrich had the Democratic field in replacing Heather Wilson in Congress virtually to himself. But the first poll showing him faring poorly against Sheriff Darren White, the probable Republican nominee, brought out real challengers. With them has come a word we’re hearing more in Democratic circles: electability.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: England--A British businessman is offering motorists the opportunity to get even with England’s much-hated speed cameras--by running over them in a 17-ton tank. Bill Bailey, who runs a paintball business in southwest England, said the off-road experience would allow drivers to get behind the wheel of his Abbot 433 Self-Propelling Gun and take it for a spin around an abandoned rock quarry with a driving instructor. The climax of the experience will let drivers use the caterpillar-tracked vehicle to mow down a mocked-up speed camera. “It will cost about 100 pounds ($224) for an hour in the tank, with an extra charge of 60 pounds ($134) to crush the speed camera.” Bailey is also working on an option of blowing up a copy of the ubiquitous Gatsometer brand traffic safety cameras seen on British roads. “The gun only fires blanks,” Bailey told reporters. “But we can simulate an explosion at the other end with pyrotechnics.”

music

Music to Your Ears

Although our man Rahim Alhaj didn't pick up Grammy gold for Best Traditional World Music Album, all in all—and I never thought I'd say this—the Grammys were totally entertaining. Awkward and tedious at times, sure, but I challenge any massive award show to shake those fugly bedfellows. I really couldn't ask for more.

Liars

A case study in perpetual reinvention

Once unhappily lumped into the genre of dance punk, Los Angeles, Calif., power-trio Liars can now only be described as ever-changing.

Le Chat Lunatique’s Demonic Lovely Gives Dancers and Listeners Cause for Celebration

CD captures the verve, swing and musicality of this “filthy, mangy jazz” quartet

The appeal of Le Chat Lunatique’s live performances owes as much to its bandmates patter and seriocomic stage presence as it does to their music—and the music is damn good. They’ve managed to translate that appeal to their new studio CD, Demonic Lovely, without visual or verbal aids. The music and the commitment with which it is played, it turns out, are really what it’s all about, whether you’re on the dance floor or sinking into a sofa.