You should be screaming Niggy Tardust at the top of your lungs
By Simon McCormack
It's tough to get a read on rapper, actor and slam poet Saul Williams. He seems to have a great deal of faith in the average person, but he's not interested in catering to anyone's tastes. His work is at once purely self-assured and fragile. Williams’ poetic verse quietly but forcefully makes the case for change while the riotous sounds behind him demand it.
Legendary tales of a brave but greedy explorer seeking an ancient land known as "Crystal Canyon" floated around in the late 19th century. The story went that this explorer, a Spaniard by the name of Ignacio Maximo de Chavez, arrived in New Orleans in 1839 and, with a team of men, set off for western lands but never returned. Years later, one man claiming to have been a part of de Chavez' party spoke of the expedition making it far west but encountering monsters, losing men--including de Chavez--and fleeing within inches of their lives. Crystal Canyon--which, based on legend, would likely have rested somewhere in New Mexico--or any records indicating the existence of an expedition thereof, were never found.
Instituto Cervantes at the National Hispanic Cultural Center is launching another film series this week with Óperas Primeras, spotlighting the first works of young directors that have not been widely distributed around the world. Obscure though they might be, these films have all been singled out for praise, awards and/or film festival recognition.
I'm with Garfield the Cat: Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my morning cup of coffee! Now, the geniuses over at ThinkGeek (“stuff for smart masses”) have invented a way to get that good caffeine into your system without going through all the early-morning rigmarole of grinding the beans, brewing the coffee and pouring it into a travel mug, only to spill it on the way to your Kia Spectra. (Don’t ya hate that?) Shower Shock is an all-vegetable-based glycerine soap that does not contain any harsh ingredients like ethanol, diethanolamine, polyethylene glycol or cocyl isethionate. (Now, you're talkin’ my language, ThinkGeek!) The bars are pleasantly scented with peppermint oil and infused with caffeine anhydrous, providing 200 milligrams of caffeine per serving. No, you don't eat it, silly! You absorb it through the skin. For maximum effect, ThinkGeek recommends you build up a good Shower Shock lather across your entire body before rinsing. This stuff may not drive Starbucks out of business (vente mochaccino for me, please), but it sure does give my private parts a tingle in the morning! **** (soaps-on-a-rope) out of five
As cleanser connoisseurs know, liquid soap was first patented in 1865 by William Shepphard. The product didn't gain widespread acceptance, however, until 1980 when the Minnetonka Corporation introduced their popular product Softsoap. The company actually cornered the market on liquid soap for several years by buying up the entire stock of plastic pumps necessary for making liquid soap dispensers. (Clever devils!) In 1987, Minnetonka got bought out by the Colgate Company, ushering in the modern-day liquid soap era.
Glitzy, escapist drama gambles it all on a game of cards
By Devin D. O’Leary
America loves to play cards. Hollywood loves to gamble. Over the years, and with increasing frequency, the movie industry has tried to exploit this by giving us films about card-playing: The Cincinnati Kid, California Split, Maverick, Rounders, The Cooler, Lucky You. Hell, even the last James Bond film managed to shoehorn in a pivotal Texas hold-’em sequence. The new film 21 adds to this ever-increasing pot, providing yet another Vegas-bound drama for people who have watched “Celebrity Poker Showdown” once or twice and can sing at least the chorus to Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler.”
When the dust from the recent Writers Guild strike settled, TV executives were gloating as if they’d won the lottery. Sure, some networks were forced to give refunds to aggrieved advertisers, but five months of not paying anyone (other than the executives) any salaries more than made up for that. The pittance eventually granted the writers was also recouped (and then some) by canceling countless development deals and dumping the traditional “upfront season” in which dozens of TV pilots are filmed and then whittled down to the one or two that will actually make it onto the airwaves.
Kiss spring's perennial blush of coy colors and prim construction goodbye. For the next three months, autumnal layering and earth tones will ram headlong into the nubile silhouettes of summer. The new vernal look is literate, lithe and flecked with mud.
What riches were found at the excavation site suspected to be the original location of the famed and mysterious Crystal Canyon? Who is leading the archaeological dig to uncover said riches? Whose car is parked in the loading zone of the excavation site with its lights on? What beast ate one excavator's sandwich and later his spleen?
It's like dancing with somebody, taking a picture, says Alan Pogue. "If the photographer is rigid, it doesn't work. You have to move with the other person. What they do has to influence what you do." Vision, he says, is touching at distances.
It's dirty, money-grubbing trickery at its worst. Before a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) hearing last month, Comcast paid people off the street to stand in line and take up space, preventing adversaries from gaining entrance to the hearing held at Harvard.
The decision by Congress a couple weeks ago not to override President Bush’s veto of the bill outlawing waterboarding by our government and its agencies makes it unanimous: All three branches of our government have now weighed in on the subject and agree that torture is just fine … as long as we are the torturers.
Dateline: The Philippines--Officials are warning religious revelers that crucifixion may be hazardous to their health. Every Good Friday in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation, dozens of men re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ by having themselves nailed to wooden crosses. At the same time, hundreds more strip to the waist and whip themselves until their backs are cut and bloody. The Catholic church frowns upon such crucifixions and self-flagellations, but the practice has become a major tourist attraction in The Philippines. The department of health issued a health warning last week advising people taking part in these rituals to have tetanus shots and to check the condition of whips before usage. Health Secretary Francisco Duque said since it was difficult to discourage “flagellants from whipping their own flesh, the best penitents can do is ensure that their whips are well-maintained.” The health department also cautioned that the six-inch nails employed in crucifixions be sterilized before use.
My day of victory has finally come. It took two-and-a-half years on staff at the Alibi to get to this moment. After vigorous battles—both mental and physical—with many opponents, I stand triumphant to claim my prize: a section dedicated to the martial arts.
Could The One Night Stanleys at The Box Performance Space be the missing link?
By Sun Beh Nim Dalness
Ninjas are mysterious creatures. They are rumored to walk on water, catch arrows with their bare hands and disappear at will. Of course, the claims are unsubstantiated as very little is known about ninjas and the art of ninjutsu. Their mystery is the only certainty we martial arts fanatics have confirmed. That and their devilish sense of humor.
An interview with fourth-degree black belt Walter Jon Williams (who happens to be an author, too)
By Sun Beh Nim Dalness
True martial arts mastery isn't dependent on how many opponents are destroyed by your pinky finger or whether your round kick can break the sound barrier. Both are essential qualities if your intent is to reach godhood (see next month's feature story, "Becoming Thor in 10 Easy Steps") but neither are required to harness artistic essence—the bridge between body and mind. Look to yourself for signs of this connection. Are you in touch with your creative side after training? No? Then work harder, grasshopper.
In the world of wine, namely easy to transport wines, one has many options. Popularly, a simple brown bag enrobing a slender vessel has been the drinker-on-the-go’s preference. Discretion coupled with portability has long been the aim of this particular class of imbibers. But there are several drawbacks to this method. Namely, the size. There’s just not enough juice in those compact bottles to make a full revolution around the trash barrel fire.
Life on the rails is full of adventure and occasional strife. There’s not much money in it, but, as I learned, it’s full of friends you’d never expect. This is a story about how I met a very special lady who taught me the ropes—or the rails, I guess you might say.
The peace march to protest the five-year anniversary of the Iraq War last Saturday, March 15, has become an annual passage in Albuquerque and all over the country. Every anniversary the number of participants seems to grow, along with the sense of bewilderment as to why we’re still in this war.
It was a simple idea: Let's put faces to the names of soldiers New Mexico sacrificed to the war effort. The cover of the Alibi this week is, in plainest terms, a reminder of what these last five years have cost.
A salty old lawyer, who’s now arguing before that appellate court in the sky, once bragged of his favorite trial tool. We were unwinding after court (as I've disclosed in this column before, I used to practice law) and the war stories, along with my beer and his scotch, flowed freely. He called his favorite trial tool “the hot poker.”
Medical students question exhibit's use of bodies without donor consent
By Marisa Demarco
UNM medical student Amanda Lo objects to the "Bodies Human" exhibit in Coronado Center. She's not grossed out by it. She harbors no religious qualms. But the people on display for shoppers to gape at in Albuquerque's mall did not give their consent to be filleted, propped up and posed.
Dateline: India--At least 50 people in India’s Kottayam district have reportedly lost their vision after staring at the sun for prolonged periods searching for an image of the Virgin Mary. St. Joseph’s ENT and Eye Hospital in Kanjirapally alone has recorded 48 cases of vision loss due to photochemical burns on the retina. The hospital began receiving patients with these abnormal symptoms on March 7. When doctors detected a pattern, they reported it to the district medical officer. The health department has since put up a billboard discounting the holy sunspot rumor and warning the faithful against exposing their eyes to direct sunlight. That hasn’t stopped believers, curious onlookers and foreign travelers from flocking to a rooming house near the town of Erumeli, where the hotel’s owner had claimed statues of the Virgin Mary have been crying honey and bleeding perfume. People have been flocking to the “blessed land”--hastily christened Rosa Mystica Mountain--for some time now, but the mad rush to view the solar image began earlier this month.
In sixth grade, living in Ulm, Germany, I hung out exclusively with Koreans. It was initially because they were the only ones who didn’t beat me up after school. But, soon enough, I came to appreciate my friends for other merits, including their mothers’ cooking.
Reserved for the swankest occasions, the tea party is a gilded gift of spring. We go goo-goo over few party precepts like the garden soiree that's all finger treats and fragrant spirits and toasts like, "To accomplishing the winter, friend! To birthing the spring, traveler!"
Scott Phillips’ locally shot horror thriller Gimme Skelter hit DVD last week and is--appropriately enough--the first release from the new Albuquerque-based DVD label Burning Paradise Entertainment. The full-feature DVD includes writer/director commentary, video blogs from the making of the film, a still gallery, a music video, a blooper reel and more.
Sentimental drama puts a cute little face to illegal immigration
By Devin D. O’Leary
It’s fairly safe to say that Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna)--with its fantastical faith in the American Dream and its saintly portrait of illegal aliens--was not made by right-wing-radio-listening, border-fence-building members of the Minuteman Project.
If someone started out by telling you that 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is a bleak drama about abortion, shot in Romania and set in the Communist era of the ’80s, you’d probably avoid it like the plague. So, instead, I’ll start out by telling you 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days captured the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, won Best Film and Best Director at the European Film Awards, was nominated for a Golden Globe and landed on numerous critics’ top 10 lists for last year. ... Now for the rough part.
“Lewis Black’s The Root of All Evil” on Comedy Central
By Devin D. O’Leary
Comedy Central continues its successful foray into all things pseudo-real (pseudo newscast “The Daily Show,” pseudo pundit program “The Colbert Report”) with a pseudo judge show starring apoplectic curmudgeon Lewis Black.
The queries started trickling in a few months ago. (That is to say: The e-mails that made it past my bloodthirsty spamtrap were few. If you didn't hear back from me, try calling instead.) Now they’re torrential. "Spring Crawl" and "Spring Crawl 2008" are two of the most popular searches at alibi.com. You want us to hurry up and get to the point about Spring Crawl—what day we're planning it for, who's on the bill, how to get your band booked, all the important stuff.
The singer/songwriter who sometimes wishes he wasn’t
By Simon McCormack
If you've had it with singer/songwriters, you’re not alone: John Ralston’s right there with you. Even though his name appears in big print on every one of his releases, Ralston would rather be viewed as a member of his touring band than seem like an artist obsessed with his own creations. He has a similarly uneasy relationship with his hometown of Lake Worth, Fla. He’s not about to distance himself from his state-of-origin, but he knows the Sunshine State has bred more than its share of the nation’s sonic sore spots.
Feel your brain cells coalesce into violently happy goo as hypersexual, disturbingly cute, underwear-clad Punk Bunny (Hollyweird, Calif.), the mighty Beefcake In Chains, Bitch Goddess and Amish Noise have their way with you at Atomic Cantina on Friday, March 21. Then they’ll do the bartenders. Free, 21+. (LM)
The student-directed productions on stage at Theatre X this weekend are not puff plays. Both directors, Barney Lopez and Steve Pinzone, selected scripts with challenges and dark undertones: Fur and Mr. Marmalade.
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) at the Albuquerque Little Theatre
By Steven Robert Allen
There once was a time when the Albuquerque Little Theatre (ALT) catered exclusively to the prim and proper. You could bring your grandma or your 8-year-old and you wouldn’t have to worry whether they might take offense at a soft-core penis joke or some simulated retching.
New Mexico has two mottos: one found on license plates and another uttered by natives, as much in jest as in seriousness. Both were proven by the photographers who submitted to our fifth annual Photo Contest—we live in an enchanting state that moves at the speed of mañana.
The English Beat's Dave Wakeling is actually one of the nicest
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Between 1978 and 1983 The Beat (known in North America as The English Beat) was a pre-eminent part of the ska revival movement known as 2 Tone. As the second-wave legends they became, the group, already greatly endowed by Saxa, a saxophonist who had played with the likes of Desmond Dekker, shared the stage with the distinguished acts of the era such as David Bowie, The Clash, The Police, The Pretenders and Talking Heads. Three decades and 6,000 miles of separation later, the one original band has become two. Original toaster Ranking Roger continues the legacy in England as The Beat, and Dave Wakeling, the band's original singer, carries on the American contingent as The English Beat. Wakeling, also a 20-year stateside resident, a former Greenpeace employee, personal hero and an all-around nice guy, took time to talk to me over the phone this week.
First, I must extend my thanks and congratulations to all the photographers who submitted works to our fifth annual Photo Contest this year. The high quality and artistic merit of the entries made for some nerve-racking judging, but, somehow, we narrowed it down to the winners found in this week's feature.
The Great Depression left many marks on the U.S. in the history books and the hearts and minds of the people. It also left a more physical trail: memories etched into sides of buildings or captured in photographs. With the hard times came desperate measures and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt did what he felt was best by creating the New Deal, paving the way for art on a scale we'd never seen before and haven't since.
By and large, I’m not a fan of chain restaurants. I just can’t get onboard with corporate-formulated burgers and pasteurized food “experiences.” But there are exceptions. Sometimes a chain comes along that serves genuinely good eats you can’t find in every other joint on the block. Chipotle, for example, has long been my go-to burrito place when I’m craving something other than a pulverized pinto mash-up. More than once I’ve thought it’s too bad Albuquerque doesn’t have one.
The wines of Bordeaux are touted around the world as brilliantly complex, stunningly powerful and, of course, staggeringly expensive. They are the pride of France and the lust of Franco- and oeno-philes everywhere. But just how French are France’s biggest and brightest?
Quick preface: We bow low before the soup kitchen altar of our friend Astara, soup wizardess and ancient soul, who throws together far superior carrot creations than we with the mere flick of her pinky finger—her curry carrot soup and her herbed carrot purée are both criminally delicious. If we could join a white-robed, Nike-wearing cult to follow her soup into future worlds, we would. Instead, we attempted merging those two soups for a rosemary roasted carrot curry soup. It was great, an absolute success; but somehow we doubt it’ll gain us any suicidal hippie followers anytime soon.
Homer Robinson didn't expect the measure he was lobbying for to get as far as it did. House Bill 193 called for a commission to choose the state's chief public defender, an office that in New Mexico is appointed solely by the governor.
Imagine passengers encapsulated within a shiny, new train car, gazing out on an industrial and often decayed desert landscape. It's a lush and uniquely New Mexican juxtaposition of prosperity and poverty, modernity and the pastoral—an experience possible via the state's roadrunner-themed commuter train. Already coursing across the brown and blue landscape between Belen and Sandoval County, the Rail Runner, which began its travels in the summer of 2006, arrives in Santa Fe in December. When completed, the project will have cost the state a few hundred million contentious dollars.
While waiting in line for coffee in Santa Fe a few years ago, I met a nice young woman. She was in her early 20s—an intelligent college student and a bit of a free spirit. While her double-mocha-soy-something was being made, we struck up a brief conversation. I don’t know what prompted the talk—perhaps it was one of those nuggets of wisdom printed on the cups—but we briefly discussed beliefs.
Dateline: Japan--It’s probably not the first time they’ve come in handy, but a Japanese pinup model was saved a stint in jail thanks to her overly large breasts. Serena Kozakura, 38, was charged with breaking into a man’s apartment by kicking a hole in his door and crawling through because he was with another woman. The bikini model was later cleared of all charges after defense lawyers held up a plate showing the size of the hole that Serena was accused of kicking in. The lawyers demonstrated that Kozakura’s 44-inch bust would not fit through the opening. “I used to hate my body so much, but it was my breasts that won in court,” Kozakura said. Judge Kunio Harad of the Tokyo High Court threw out the guilty verdict, saying there was reasonable doubt about the man’s story.
On March 14 and 15, the National Hispanic Cultural Center hosts the 2008 Women & Creativity Film Festival. Over the weekend, the NHCC’s Bank of America Theatre (1701 Fourth Street SW) will screen a string of short films and videos created by female producers, writers and directors. Anne Stirling’s alternative-to-matrimony documentary Why Get Married?, Rebecca Rivas’ examination of Peruvian women’s reproductive health, Erin Hudson’s look at female long-haul truckers and several short-form narrative pieces will be shown Friday, March 14, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. A Q&A with the artists will follow. Saturday—from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., from 2 to 4:15 p.m. and from 6 to 9 p.m.—there will be additional blocks of shorts, documentaries and animations. All screenings are free and open to the public. For a complete schedule of films, log on to www.nhccnm.org.
Are you familiar with Stendhal Syndrome? It’s a psychosomatic condition, first documented by the 19th-century French writer Stendhal, in which people can be overcome by great works of art. Stendhal reported heart palpitations, dizziness and an almost religious sense of epiphany upon viewing the cultural riches of Florence. It’s an odd concept, to be sure--but one that seems all the more clear upon viewing The Rape of Europa, a mesmerizing, astonishing, highly emotional film about Adolf Hitler’s systematic campaign to steal and/or destroy Europe’s great works of art.
At least it doesn’t have Jim Carrey in gray makeup and big, rubber ears
By Devin D. O’Leary
Now that we’re all safely outside the biohazard zone created by 2000’s Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas and 2003’s Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat, I think we can all agree that live-action versions of Dr. Seuss books are just wrong, wrong, wrong. It’s of some comfort, then, that the 2008 feature film translation of Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! arrives in animated form. It’s computer-animated, mind you, but at least it’s a cartoon, sparing us the horror of seeing Mike Myers covered in white spackle and black fur and prancing around leftover sets from Edward Scissorhands.
John Amsterdam, the main character of FOX’s offbeat new crime series, is a 17th-century Dutch soldier cursed (or is it blessed?) to live forever, or at least until he meets his one true love. It sounds like an unusual premise for a show, but one of the sneakier strengths of “New Amsterdam” is that it’s really rather familiar.