The deadline for the 2008 Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is Friday, July 18. Films can be of any length as long as they pertain to LGBT issues, and entry is only $15. Visit closetcinema.org for submission guidelines. Mail your entries to: Closet Cinema, 2008 Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, 1807 Gabaldon NW, Albuquerque, N.M. 87104.
The city is crawling with bicycles …and it’s fabulous!
The Albuquerque Theatre Guild shakes up the scene
If the Albuquerque Theatre Guild had a catchphrase, it'd be: “More butts in seats.” The adage best sums up the organization's top priority—plus, it's pithy and would look great on a T-shirt.
Neighbors sue the city over Albuquerque's bike stadium
Noise and dust: three days a week, 11 months a year.
That's the major contribution the city's BMX stadium makes to the Clayton Heights/Lomas Del Cielo neighborhood, say several residents. "There's been constant noise from construction, repairs, the crowd and the announcer," says Clayton Heights resident Rosina Roibal. "It's really annoying."
Silica in groundwater is not considered a contaminant by the EPA
Study looks into how eco-friendly jobs in the Duke City are—and could be
The “green is good” sentiment is sweeping Albuquerque, as local government enacts environmentally conscious business policy and large companies like Schott Solar continue to set up base. Still, the green sector’s size and potential have remained unclear.
Who are Tom Udall and Steve Pearce's top contributors? A new form of public transportation could make sense for Albuquerque. What's in the trunk? And a former top official at New Mexico State University is accused of ...
We talk news every day and found ourselves polarized over the lead photo in the Albuquerque Journal Thursday, July 10. We'll take on the topic of that startling image in the first "Thin Line Versus."
DATELINE: Russia— Channel Five News reports that last week a St. Petersburg woman accidentally killed her husband with a foldout couch. In response to his drunken state, the victim’s wife kicked a lever on the side of the couch (then opened into a bed) after the man refused to get up. The lever set off the internal mechanism that folds up the bed, and the man fell headfirst between the mattress and the back of the couch, according to local authorities. The woman had left the room after kicking the couch and so didn’t notice her husband’s state for three more hours. The St. Petersburg Emergency Services Ministry stated that a private rescue service removed the man's body, and the Channel Five website is running footage of the emergency workers sawing the couch apart. Workers report the man died instantly.
Questions on the resurrected “modern streetcar”
I’ve got a few questions about this resurrected $28 million-a-mile trolley—excuse me, “modern streetcar.”
Ugh. It’s too damn hot lately, and dry heat or not, the upward creeping of the mercury is doing a number on me. As I stood in front of the air conditioner with the vents directed up my shirt, I realized it was time to take action. What I needed was cooling from the inside-out. You know what I’m talking about: ice cream.
Until last week, wild fennel was a great frustration to us. The stuff sprouts all around us in the early summer months—glorious, fragrant fennel, but with no bulb worth braising. After much discussion and consternation, we realized the answer to our woe was staring us in the nose: fennel pollen.
Religion and power collide
“Every religious person has to take responsibility for the way in which their tradition promotes intolerance and hatred."
A gorgeous hell on Earth it is, too
Guillermo del Toro directed the first Hellboy? Really? That's the guy who did Pan's Labyrinth and The Orphanage, right?
In a time when the average American spends nearly as many hours on a computer as watching TV (if not more), it may be time to consider adding the PC into the definition of the idiot box. Luckily, TV networks have already thought of that, making more and more of their shows available for viewing online with limited commercial interruption [See last week's Idiot Box, "Hyper-Speed Syndication"]. But they don't just want you to watch “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” and “30 Rock” and be done with it; they want you to spend all of your Web time on their site. Really. They even craft clever little webgames to keep your browser tuned in. I give you TV-on-the-webgames:
The Week in Sloth
Riffing on this week's New Mexico Jazz Festival kick-off (see "Spotlight"), Santa Fe's Vintage Poster Gallery (901 Canyon, 505-577-7419) is mounting the largest exhibition of vintage Polish jazz concert posters in North America. The collection starts in the underground ’50s (jazz was condemned under Stalinist communism) and winds up through the European festivals of the ’90s; just about all of the posters are surreally eye-popping. The exhibition runs through Aug. 15 and opens with a reception this Saturday, July 19, from 2 to 5 p.m. Bert Dalton will perform, courtesy of Friends of Santa Fe Jazz. Regular gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. You can preview posters from the exhibition at mrposter.com; or add your own concert art to the Alibi Flyer on the Web database at alibi.com/FOTW.
New Orleans legend crowns the first week of the 2008 New Mexico Jazz Festival
When asked who wrote vocalist Irma Thomas’ 1963 hit “Ruler of My Heart,” later covered by Otis Redding and The Rolling Stones as “Pain in My Heart,” Thomas’ bassist answered, “You can’t turn a corner in New Orleans without bumping into Allen Toussaint.”
The third annual New Mexico Jazz Festival runs from July 17 through July 28.
The self-proclaimed mad Hungarian opens up ... a little
You may have seen him walking down Central, head down, guitar on his back, handlebar mustache and long, blackened fingernails. He's not much of a talker, though he's liable to take off his shirt on stage, revealing a thick mat of curly black chest hair. Swirling around in the local Mythos of Zoltán is the fact that he was banned from the Golden West for getting naked. "I've been known to showcase my hairy body parts and such at other shows," he says.
The Cell Theatre (700 First Street NW) opens up Sunday, July 20, for an all-ages wall-banger with Hit By A Bus, The Material, Zagadka and Amicus. Doors open at 7 p.m. $7 gets you in. (LM)
The reign of George W. Bush is nearing an end, so it’s time to cram in as many satires and parables as possible before he's ousted. Nth Degree Productions is doing its patriotic part by performing The Madness of King Georgie Bush, opening this Friday, July 18, for a two-week run at the VSA North Fourth Arts Center (4904 Fourth Street NW). This “misunderestimated” theatrical performance is sure to cause some congressional-sized laughs on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through July 27. Tickets are $10 (cash only, please) and reservations can be made by calling 702-7692. Hope it’s presidential!
Inception at SCA Contemporary Art
Though the area just south of I-40, where SCA Contemporary Art has laid roots, seems ready for a deluge of artist activity, for now it remains an industrial landscape, bustling with deliveries and large trucks. As you walk up the steps and through the door of SCA, you’re bombarded by the breadth of the gallery space. At nearly 6,000 square feet, the gallery has laid claim to being the largest contemporary art space in Albuquerque with aspirations to match. According to its website , “SCA is dedicated to facilitating space for experimental, innovative and contemporary art. ... Presenting exhibitions by emerging and established, local, national and international artists working with large scale sculpture, painting, print, drawing, photography, installation, sound and video art.”
The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie
It's unofficially the doldrums of summer, when things like job performance and precise maneuverings in time and space take backseat to the more important goals of porch-sitting and pool-seeking. And coming in a close third: cold beer-sipping. Traditionally, this activity should be done from an icy, sweating can.
Overeating fatty, salty, sugar-laden food is as American as apple pie
Imagine if McDonald’s picked up your bill any time you managed to eat 10 Big Macs in an hour or less. What if Wendy’s replaced its wimpy Baconator with an unstoppable meat-based assassin that could truly make your aorta explode—say, 20 strips of bacon instead of six, enough cheese slices to roof a house, and instead of two measly half-pound patties that look as emaciated as the Olsen twins, five pounds of the finest ground beef, with five pounds of fries on the side? Morgan Spurlock’s liver would seek immediate long-term asylum at the nearest vegan co-op.
Local establishments are coping with the sluggish economy, but some are struggling more than others
Is the floundering U.S. economy hurting local businesses? It depends who you ask. Business owners admit the economy has had some negative effects on them—their cost of living has increased along with everyone else's. But many say their sales haven't dropped. Others haven't been so fortunate.
Who will be in charge Nov. 4?
The state's Bureau of Elections is without two key officials as Election Day closes in.
Which Albuquerque business caught fire? Campaign contributions from a questionable source. Who's being named in a civil suit? And Los Alamos National Labs may be ...
Government-funded abstinence-only education may finally be on its way out. Twelve years after the national program started, only slightly more than half the states are still on board, according to a June 24 Associated Press article. The rest decided in recent years to wash their hands clean of the poorly performing initiative, with New Mexico jumping on the common-sense bandwagon at the end of 2007.
Drilling won't strike cash
Syndicated cartoonist Ben Sargent drew a grandmotherly elephant sitting at a gas station. Granny GOP reads a fairy tale to a fuming motorist: “Is it true?’ asks Sally Consumer. “The very day we open the offshore and Arctic leases, we can supply all our own oil, and gasoline will be a dollar a gallon again?” “Oh yes!” says the Magic Petroleum Fairy.
Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain are vying for the title of Change Agent in Chief because they recognize that Americans want the country to take a different direction from the course we’ve wobbled along on for eight pain-filled years. The public opinion polls clearly point out the despair the majority of voters feel over where we’re headed as a nation.
DATELINE: China—The most celebrated pig in China has added another chapter to his charmed life. The Chengdu Business Daily reports that Zhu Jianquiang (or “Pig Strong Will”), an animal that survived for more than five weeks on rainwater and charcoal while trapped in rubble caused by earthquakes in Sichuan in May, will be adopted by the Jianchuan Museum. The museum promises to care for the pig for the remainder of his natural life. In an official announcement, a Jianchuan Musuem curator stated that Zhu Jianquiang was “a symbol of Chinese endurance” and that an application would be filed with Guinness World Records officials. Said the pig’s owner, Wan Xingming: “When my wife fed him, two lines of tears dropped from his eyes.” Biographical movie proposals are reportedly in the works.
At least that's the title for now, according to Danny Solis, the man behind the reason Tuesday is the new Thursday. The Big Poetry Show kicks off on Tuesday, July 15, at One Up Lounge (301 Central NW) at 8 p.m., but this isn't your average slam. On top of the usual open mic and slam bouts, there'll also be music by Cultura Fuerte, a featured performance by poet/roustabout Buddy Ray McNiece, crazy big prizes (Solis says bikes, grills and trips to Las Vegas have been discussed—no joke) and the first-ever "Sake Slam"—an event designed by Solis to challenge poets to create poetry on the spot with music, in haiku form and other brain-expanding ways. After July 15, The Big Poetry Show (or whatever it's called in the future) will continue every Tuesday night at One Up, with a grand shindig once a month.
Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) and I Hate Hamlet at the Vortex
The study of Shakespeare is inevitable in theater. From literary studies to vast acting intensives, the Bard is with us—like it or not. This double-carbon bond has inspired many plays, including titles like The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and provides countless opportunities for playwrights to bring Shakespeare's classic world into modern theater. The Vortex Theatre presents two such plays in repertory, I Hate Hamlet and Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), throughout July. Both productions gaze into Shakespeare's world through a less-than-original lens, and both do it with a touch of humor.
Life Sucks by Jessica Abel and Gabe Soria, illustrated by Warren Pleece
Starting with this issue of the Alibi, you may notice a distinct decrease in the amount of work coming from our normally reliable film editor, Devin D. O'Leary. Mr. O'Leary has neither died nor given up caring about his job. For the next five weeks, he will be on an extended sabbatical. He has shipped off to the Far East to teach an intensive summer course on Hong Kong film to a group of students from New Mexico State University's Creative Media Institute. While in Hong Kong, this group will be meeting with members of the local film industry, visiting famed filming locations like the Shaw Brothers' studio and viewing as many Asian films as humanly possible. By August, these students will return to New Mexico ready to apply all they've seen and learned to our state's growing film industry. By August, Mr. O'Leary will return to writing snide comments about Adam Sandler movies. (DO’L)
The rocks aren’t bad
The success or failure of Journey to the Center of the Earth, New Line Cinema's $45 million, 3-D remake of Jules Verne's seminal adventure novel, boils down to one simple question: How do the rocks look? Seriously. Every single film focusing on caves, caverns and mysterious lands beneath the Earth's crust lives or dies on the realism of its rock-strewn sets. If they look like something off the first season of “Star Trek,” then the film is sunk before it begins. All the cutting-edge digital 3-D animation isn't going to make up for crappy papier-mâché rocks. So, how do the rocks in Journey to the Center of the Earth look? Eh, not bad. Considerably better than “Land of the Lost,” not as good as a visit to Carlsbad Caverns.
Yummy bowl of mush
At the risk of sounding unmanly, I have to admit I enjoy mushy weepers like And When Did You Last See Your Father?, at least every once in a while, in the privacy of my own home, blinds closed so the neighbors won’t judge me. Of course, not every mushy weeper is created equal. The Brits seem to have a knack for assembling this kind of irresistible schmaltz, and this oh-so-British movie nicely delivers all the prime elements.
Watching “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” until my eyes bleed
I sealed my fate with the click of a mouse. Once I started watching FX’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” I couldn’t stop.
If you've ever been in a band, chances are you've got 900 pressings of your first album stashed away in someone's closet. That was the finding on a recent RockSquawk thread, anyway. Almost all of our self-produced collections are collecting dust in inaccessible armpits of the city. Meanwhile, just as many of us would love to comb through someone else's pile. ( ... The wax is always blacker on the other side.) So, what would happen if we all unearthed our ancient jewel cases, cassettes and vinyl and traded them for stuff we actually want to hear?
What it took to get the Launchpad back on its feet
It was anything but a vacation, says Joe Anderson, operator of the Launchpad. "There were people that were making remarks like, Yeah, well, at least you'll have some time off," he says. Launchpad had its doors shut from the time of the neighboring Golden West's fire on Feb. 28 until happy hour on July 1. During those four months, he and some of his coworkers were working 10 times harder than usual, Anderson says, moving already-booked shows to other venues and overseeing renovations to the space.
Employees welcome back the Launchpad
When the Launchpad went out of commission more than four months ago, talent buyer Luis Mota had to scramble to reschedule shows.
New Orleans pianist Tom McDermott has to rank among the most fluid, inventive and technically robust pianists radiating the 88s today in the traditional syncopated musics of the Americas—from ragtime to choro to tango, from Jelly Roll Morton to James Booker—and he’s a beguiling composer besides. The eloquently understated Connie Jones may be the Crescent City’s most respected cornetist. Neither man knows how to play a false note. They combine beautifully on this collection of reinvigorated standards (“Tishomingo Blues”), McDermott originals (including the lovely solo piano reverie “Song of Bernadotte”), jazz from Freddy Chopin (title track) and more. Meanwhile, Parnassus Records has had the good sense to reissue McDermott’s 1996 solo effort, All the Keys & Then Some. This collection of 24 piano miniatures (one in each key) plus 14 portraits of friends for piano and synthesizer—by turns prankish, tender, audacious, bemused—showcases an adventurous and delightfully eccentric musical imagination.
The English are here
So what the hell is a gastropub? I hear the term at least once a day lately—I've even begun to use it myself. But I’m sure some of you would like a clear definition. In a nutshell, it describes British pubs that have taken it upon themselves to serve bar food that goes beyond hot wings and extreme nachos. What that translates to is restaurant-quality food in a place you’d normally reserve for picking up the drunkest tube top-wearing barfly who can still legally give consent. Something about the idea speaks to my very soul.
I just want to pinch his little metal cheeks
You may think you have a low tolerance for cute. But all your set-in-stone prejudices against Hello Kitty stickers, Precious Moments figurines, Anne Geddes photographs, Webkinz, interspecies snorgling (if you don’t know, you don’t want to) and Knut the polar bear cub have done nothing to steel you against the onslaught of adorability that is WALL-E. Honestly, if puppies and kittens could have babies, they’d be hideous, misshapen monstrosities compared to the unassailable cuteness of Pixar’s little robot star.
Native Americans’ struggle with the first freedom
Josephine Waconda’s home is on the Isleta Pueblo reservation. An irrigation ditch flows nearby. The sound of water rushing through the concrete channel is drowned out by the hopeful whinnying of horses in tidy, white-painted pipe pens.
Doctors seek funds to understand a mysterious genetic disorder affecting New Mexicans
Buried in bundles of white, wrinkled matter are 50 to 70 blotches. Some are barely visible specks, while others stretch oddly over large areas. This was the image of Tammy Jonas' brain at 2 years old. She hit her head on a concrete floor and the emergency room administered standard testing for swelling in the brain. Doctors also found an unrelated case of Cerebral Cavernous Malformation (CCM). There is no known cure.
Local gay couple plans to make the trip to get hitched, but how will their marriage be viewed once the honeymoon is over?
Joseph Gutierrez awoke Friday, May 16, to a stream of text messages: Same-sex couples could be wed in California. And they didn't stop there. All day long, as word spread about the Golden State's decision, phone calls and texts came in.
A New Mexico man wanted to change his name to what? The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico loses a court case. What animal killed a Pinos Altos man? And which team is giving a Lobo men's player a shot on basketball's biggest stage?
The New York Times is naming names—at least, if you're an African-American rapper.
Our national fear of facts
“But don’t you believe in global warming?”
I’ve received that response repeatedly when I ask questions about the science behind AGW, anthropogenic (man-made) global warming.
A well-respected entrepreneur who has launched hydrogen fuel cell and solar power companies keeps feeding me information challenging the theory of AGW. He sends me data showing a decrease in temperatures over the past decade. He opposes restrictions on industries that burn fossil fuels. He argues that mass indoctrination by Al Gore is diverting energy from far more important work, such as solving the technological limitations of electric car batteries.
Dateline: Lebanon--A fast-food restaurant in Beirut has seen an uptick in customers since adopting a “terrorism” theme. Diners at the Buns and Guns sandwich shop eat to the sound of gunfire instead of Muzak. The chefs wear military helmets. Weapons and ammunition decorate the counters and camouflage netting hangs from the ceiling. Owner Yousef Ibrahim serves up dishes like “rocket-propelled grenade” (chicken on a skewer) and “terrorist bread.” “They accuse us of terrorism, so let’s serve terrorist bread. Why not?” Ibrahim told Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV. “My goal is to make people laugh before they ask me, ‘Why weapons?’ ” said Ibrahim. “The important thing is they laugh.” The sandbag-covered restaurant is located deep in Beirut's Hezbollah-dominated southern suburbs.
A class of her own
If I had to choose one person in Albuquerque who has earned the right to be called a chef, I would adamantly, and without hesitation, say Jennifer James. If there’s still anyone left in town who wishes to argue, allow me to present my case.
When we got knee-deep in the nitty-gritty of planning how we were going to pull off a recent wedding catering gig, we quickly realized the difference between making some big-ass salads and nourishing a nuptial celebration: a proper wedding cake. So we got to researching and everyone involved liked the idea of cute little cake-ettes instead of a full-fledged wedding cake. We dug up a solid vegan cupcake recipe and added a few twists in flavor and decoration. The cake is vegan, the frosting's vegan. Both are sugary as hell and cute as a button of peyote.
Hot grapes for hot days and nights
What an exciting time to enjoy the vast range of culinary offerings and wines found around Albuquerque! Spurred by the city’s explosive growth, the restaurant and beverage industry has expanded exponentially; our eateries and watering holes are exploring wine and cuisine from around the globe like never before. Shops that offer an expansive range of international items to select from have become ubiquitous. Wine classes and seminars are offered at locations throughout the city. There's an assortment of ultra-chic wine festivals and tastings that add luster to these warm weather months. The options for oenophiles today are unlimited, so get out and enjoy all the magic Albuquerque has to offer and open your mind to the wondrous world of wine.
Factory on 5th Art Space started hosting its very own “Civic Cinema”-esque outdoor movie screenings last week. Every Thursday night for the next month, Factory will show a classic feature film in the parking lot (1715 Fifth Street NW) starting at dusk (around 8:30 p.m. these days). This Thursday, July 3, it’s The Blues Brothers. July 10, it’s The Usual Suspects. July 17, it’s Casablanca. July 24, it’s The Magnificent Seven. Bring a lawn chair, cooler/snacks and a suggested $5 donation. For more info, just log on to factoryon5.com.
Better with booze
During its first half hour, Hancock blows away any other superhero movie in a boozy blast of fresh air. It’s better than Iron Man, better than Spider-Man or X-Men or The Incredible Hulk or Hellboy. (Not better than Batman Begins, but so few flicks are.)
Fourth of July around the dial
Let’s just go ahead and assume that the safety-conscious officials in our county will be banning nearly all fireworks in an effort to fend off bosque fires, leaving us naught but sparklers, black snakes and boxes and boxes of punks (the stick of coated wood kind, not the Johnny Rotten sort) with which to entertain ourselves come Independence Day. If we can’t consume mass quantities of beer and then blow things up in our front yard, what is there to do on the Fourth of July?
The Week in Sloth
There's not a lot of cross-pollination between Santa Fe and Albuquerque bands, even though we each have scenes that are uniquely our own and in fairly close proximity to each other (40 minutes' drive ain’t much). You don't often see Santa Feans playing in Albuquerque, and even less Burqueños make it out to Santa Fe. (One possible explanation: Santa Fe venues book one band for two- and three-hour sets, and the long gigs pay well. In Albuquerque, we cram three or four bands into a few hours, which cuts into each band's profit. Not many Albuquerque bands have a three-hour set list in their back pocket. Not many Santa Fe bands will drive all the way down here for a $50 gig.) That has to change. But that's just the bands. What's preventing everyone else, the casual listeners, from engaging in the other city's scene?
On the road because they have to
Imagine being a rap artist and having the privilege to contact your inspirations and all-time hip-hop heroes for a show in your hometown. Hats off to the Internet and networks like MySpace for allowing independent artists to wander the pastures of music in search of building international connections with each other.
One day at a time
In many ways, Ours has made it.
The band is signed to Columbia Records. Its latest album, Mercy (Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy), was produced by Grammy-winning producer and Columbia co-head Rick Rubin. And the group’s members feel like they’re making the best music of their lives. So why isn’t Ours acting like a band at the top?
The Fourth of July is one of the few holidays when the publishing industry slows down (the others being New Year's Day, Christmas and Thanksgiving), which means we get a three-day weekend! Now, one could spend said holiday grilling buffalo burgers, drinking brews and lighting fireworks for 72 hours straight—but where's the art in that? (Unless, of course, you’re actually creating a piece of performance art dissecting American culture, but I digress.) One could also spend the weekend visiting galleries throughout Albuquerque starting on Thursday, July 3, at the N4th Gallery's opening of Getting Things Done: 2008 VSA AmeriCorps Exhibition from 5 to 8 p.m. and continuing on Friday and Saturday with opening receptions at multiple galleries from 5 to 8:30 p.m. both days. For a complete list of participating galleries and their exhibits, visit artscrawlabq.org.
Lucky Number Seven at SITE Santa Fe
Playgrounds are places for picking favorites. Not just in games of Capture the Flag and Red Rover, but for equipment as well. Most of my elementary school classmates favored the slide. The gymnastics girls always hogged the monkey bars to show off how well they could dangle by a single foot. Me, I loved the swing. Specifically, a fraying yellow rope hanging at the corner of the playground, away from the hustle of Hide and Seek. The day it broke, I held a piece of it in my hands and cried.