Winners and losers in the summer 2008 cinematic post-mortem
By Devin D. O’Leary
Labor Day Weekend closed out the summer 2008 movie season on a dark note. It is, traditionally, the only holiday weekend of the year in which box office receipts actually drop. And drop they did, further dampened by the roaring winds of Hurricane Gustav, which all but destroyed (in some cases literally) box office revenue along the Gulf Coast. Last year, Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween set the record, scaring up $30 million over the Labor Day weekend. This year, the highest-grossing new film (Babylon A.D., starring the seemingly moribund Vin Diesel) barely scraped together $10 million over the same four-day weekend.
Drumroll, please! Best of Burque, the original Albuquerque reader’s poll, enters its latest incarnation on Valentine’s Day, 2018. Voting runs Feb. 14 through March 13, a four-week period during which, for the first time, you can cast your votes once each week. So if you want to express love for your Best of Burque faves on a weekly basis to give the objects of your affection an edge in the results, your wish has been granted!
I remember all too well what it's like to be 11 years old. Awkward. Insecure. Mentally and hygienically unstable. Nothing like the self-assured tween the Launchpad has become. You're finally a woman, Launchpad. We're so proud of you—mazel tov!
Venerated New Zealand singer-songwriter Tim Finn plays Albuquerque
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Since the early '70s, Tim Finn has been both rocking and mellowing English-speaking countries in the Earth's southern hemisphere. He was frontman for the colorfully original new wave-ish band Split Enz, had a stint in his younger brother's group, Crowded House, also saw success with the Finn Brothers and has had a lengthy solo career. With fans that follow him with a cultish fervor, those that love his music are more than elated that the Auckland-based troubadour presses on after more than 30 years.
Poor Man’s Ferrari, Five Minute Sin and Sabertooth Cavity shred for change. A portion of proceeds from their Saturday, Sept. 6 show at El Rey Theater (21+) goes to the Yellow Ribbon Foundation, a nonprofit that gives aid to U.S. veterans. $7 is the least you can do. (LM)
New Grounds Print Workshop and Gallery is not asking for gifts to celebrate its 12-year anniversary. Instead, it’s hosting the works of Ando Shinji, a Japanese master printer who merges Western sensibilities with a Japanese aesthetic. This Friday, Sept. 5, New Grounds hosts an opening reception/anniversary party from 5 to 8 p.m., which includes music, food and a raffle for $250 in artwork. Shinji will be present on Friday, Sept. 19, from 6:30 to 7 p.m. for a discussion about his multi-plate etching process. The show is on display through Sept. 27. Call New Grounds at 268-8952 with questions.
A decades-old cassette provided the script and the spark for The Pearl Fantasy. Local performer Amaya, in her early days, ran off to join the German circus Salome as a belly dancer. As she walked around an empty and luxurious Journal Theatre stage at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the cassette became the impetus of a performance that would take a year to put together.
Mention "fungus" and watch as noses around you being to wrinkle. But the truth is, humans have relied on fungi since the beginning of time. The fuzzier members of the family (molds) have brought us cheese and antibiotics, while fruiting varieties (mushrooms) have made their way to our dinner tables and, in some cases, expanded our consciousness. Rumor has it Adam and Eve took full advantage of a certain mushroom’s ability to aid in the latter and inadvertently spawned a religion or two.
The City Council plans to construct a cast bronze war memorial honoring soldiers who've died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Because the memorial would also include a visual connection to 9/11, the design—and the $300,000 price tag—are kindling controversy [Council Watch, “Easing Back In,” Aug. 14-20].
Health care practitioners start talking about an antidote for a poisoned health care system
By Marisa Demarco
Dr. Elizabeth Burpee's daughter was trying to scream, but she couldn't because her tongue was swollen. In the pediatric ER two weeks ago at UNM Hospital, the girl was having a life-threatening allergic reaction to an antibiotic. Burpee is a doctor at the hospital, but that night, she was there as a mom. "I went out to get a nurse, and the nurse was too busy to come right away," Burpee says.
We Democrats don’t call ourselves “liberals” anymore. Thirty years of steady right-wing propagandizing against the term has essentially ruined it, turned it into a pejorative—the political equivalent of “sissy” or someone “cultivated.”
Dateline: Cambodia—Thanks to soaring inflation and increasing demand, the price of rat meat has more than quadrupled in the southeastern Asian nation of Cambodia. With consumer inflation at 37 percent according to the latest Central Bank estimate, demand has pushed a kilogram of rat meat to around 5,000 riel ($1.27). Spicy field rat dishes made with garlic have become particularly popular since beef prices have soared to more than 20,000 riel a kilogram. “Not only are our poor eating it, but there is also demand from Vietnamese living on the border with us,” Ly Marong, a Cambodian agricultural official, told Reuters. He estimated that Cambodia supplies more than a ton of live rats a day to Vietnam. Rats are also widely eaten in Thailand, while the state government in eastern India last month encouraged its people to eat rats in an effort to battle soaring food prices.
This Friday, Sept. 5, marks the deadline for filmmakers to apply to the New Visions/New Mexico contract awards. For the third year in a row, our state has set aside $160,000 in contract awards. New Mexico filmmakers could be eligible for up to $20,000 for the initialization, production or completion of a film- or video-based project. In addition, Panavison has once again offered to provide two awards of camera rental packages valued at $10,000 each. Narrative films, documentaries, animated and experimental projects are all eligible. Applicants must be 18 years of age and New Mexico residents. Projects will be judged on a variety of criteria, including artistic quality of the project, the applicant’s demonstrated ability, managerial and fiscal ability, and service to the state. Naturally, there’s a lot of paperwork to fill out, so get cracking. You can find all the appropriate information at nmfilm.com.
“We were just outside of the lobby snack bar when the drugs kicked in”
By Devin D. O’Leary
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson is, in a great many ways, the ultimate Hunter S. Thompson documentary. It isn’t perfect, it doesn’t answer every single question, but it does leave us wondering who could possibly offer up a more apt examination. Piloted by documentarian du jour Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Taxi to the Dark Side), the film is a wild, entertaining, multimedia ride though the as-advertised “life and work” of the infamous, drug-fueled father of gonzo journalism.
With the writers’ strike behind us (and a possible actors’ strike ahead of us), the fall 2008 TV season arrives battered, bruised and only slightly behind schedule. As expected, there are fewer new shows than normal. As expected, a great many of them are remakes of older (The CW’s “90210”) or foreign shows (NBC’s “Kath & Kim”). As expected, there are plenty of cheap game shows (ABC’s “Opportunity Knocks”) and reality shows (NBC’s “America’s Toughest Jobs”). So what else can we expect? Let’s go over the (potentially) good and the (expectedly) bad.
I spent three weeks in Missouri eating barbecue and wild mushrooms paired, of course, with cases of Pabst Blue Ribbon. It was great, but I couldn’t help but feel as though something was missing. My years in New Mexico have had an effect on me. I needed chile—and bad.
In a drab, cramped room at the back of Lee Hart's basement, there is a faint and somewhat eerie hum. More than a hundred large, mostly rechargeable batteries from around the world rise along the walls and sprawl across the floor. A few are hooked to machines with quivering meter needles measuring the amount and durability of their charges; the data are being fed into a 1987 Zenith XT computer with dual floppy disks stationed on a table in the corner. There are the traditional lead-acid batteries of the sort used in most cars. There's a stack of the nickel-metal-hydride batteries Hart salvaged from an EV1, the crushed vehicle that starred in the movie Who Killed the Electric Car? And there are the lighter, exponentially more expensive lithium-ion batteries.
What does Big Bill think about Sen. Barack Obama's VP choice? APD is trying some new tricks to make Downtown safer. An Albuquerque author links nuclear weapons to ... ? And which TV show will be filmed at a New Mexico university?
Idea Propulsion Lab members invent from the comfort of their living rooms
By Aeriel Emig
Necessity may spur invention, but for Matt Grommes, creativity is the driving factor behind his creations. The members of the Idea Propulsion Lab (IPL) don't need engineering degrees to go mad scientist. And while these garage engineers aren't reeling in millions with their inventions, they probably have the highest-tech stereo systems and the best solar-powered fighting robots in town.
Barack Obama wants to keep as many as 50,000 American troops in Iraq indefinitely. His 16-month timetable does not mean a complete withdrawal, only a reduction in force so combat troops can be rotated from Iraq to Afghanistan.
Dateline: Australia—A bizarre batch of garlic bread that mysteriously turns blue in the oven has sparked a nationwide recall by Australia’s biggest supplier. The recall of 13 brands made by Capalaba-based AGB International has left Australia’s top pizza chain, Domino’s, temporarily out-of-stock on its most popular side dish. A spokesperson for AGB said the company did not believe the breads were a danger to the public but was issuing the recall in the interest of quality control. AGB did not yet know why the bread turned blue when baked but believed the problem was “isolated to a batch of garlic we are no longer using.” Domino’s, meanwhile, said they would be replacing the dish with “cheesy herb pizza bread” for the time being.
Clawhammer or Scruggs? Bluegrass banjo players pledge allegiance to one of the genre's two major styles (which boil down to frailing in the former and arpeggiated picking in the latter), but they're not at odds. Folks from either camp would jump at an opportunity to see a pillar of modern bluegrass in action, regardless of style—especially when you're talking about Earl Scruggs himself. Sixty-plus years of refined innovation and the guy still chooses playing live over resting on his laurels, though he doesn't make it to our neck of the woods much.
From the vast basement and back alley of New York City’s Anthology Film Archives comes “Smother This, New Mexico,” a self-described “panoramic journey through the very bowels of one of America’s foremost film dumping grounds.” Founded in 1968 by critic and filmmaker Jonas Mekas, Anthology is an international center for the preservation, promotion and presentation of experimental, independent and avant-garde cinema. Now Anthology is hitting the road with some of the unknown, unfinished and unwanted 16mm productions that have been collected from “trash cans, widowers, bankrupt laboratories and total weirdos.” Basement Films alumnus Emily Davis and Anthology dude Andrew Lampert will host this evening of recently unearthed weirdness. Possible film titles might include: “F’ed up Food,” “Student Film Trilogy,” “Child with Goat,” “Hellish Hippie Wedding,” “33 YoYo Tricks” and “Orgy at Grandma’s House.” Experimental, local audio/visual band Our Years With Light will open the show. “Smother This, New Mexico” will take place on Friday, Aug. 29, at 8 p.m. at Stove (112 Morningside NE). Tickets are a mere $5.
Few things summon as much shifting affection and disdain as the place where you grew up. As a result, finding a way out of or back to your hometown is a recurring theme in both art and life. Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin has a specialty in traveling through time, unearthing buried secrets and recalling the terrible heartsickness to which they’re attached. All the while, he does his best mock Battleship Potemkin, manipulating the montage until it becomes a beautifully warped spirograph. In his latest work of erratic, Soviet cinema-inspired video art, Maddin finds himself emotionally stuck in his Manitoban hometown, posing the question, What if I filmed my way out of here?
In the decently crafted Traitor, Academy Award-nominated actor Don Cheadle plays Samir Horn, a Somali-born Muslim-American arms dealer trying to foment (or is it prevent?) a major terrorist attack on the United States. Much of Traitor’s runtime is taken up by questions of Samir’s loyalties. Clearly, as indicated by the title, he’s a traitor. But is he a traitor to the United States, where he once served in the U.S. Special Forces as an explosives expert? Or is he a double-agent, waiting to backstab his fellow conspirators?
Writer/producer Steven Bochco knows him some cops (“Hills Street Blues,” “NYPD Blue,” “Cop Rock”). He knows him some lawyers (“L.A. Law,” “Murder One,” “Civil Wars”). Apparently, he also knows him some “Simpsons.” How else to explain his casting of Jane Kaczmarek (“Malcolm in the Middle”) as a flinty, tough-talking female judge in the new courtroom drama “Raising the Bar”? Kaczmarek has voiced Judge Harm, a flinty, tough-talking adjudicator on Fox’s animated sitcom, since 2001.
Albuquerque artist (and former Alibi graphic designer) Neal Ambrose Smith's print of Batman isn't just a pink-and-orange rendering of the dark knight. It's an intaglio print titled Sam Small Feathers and His Cape at the Fancy Shawl. Top that, Robin. Smith's work hangs alongside 18 other printmakers’ at SCA Contemporary Art's new show, INprint. The exhibit hangs in the large, warehouse-like space at 524 Haines NW through Sept. 13. For details, visit scacontemporary.com or call 228-3749.
Three weeks ago, my fear of flying shot to the surface as I flew out from Vermont in a twin-prop plane to New Jersey. All I could do was wait for the plane to fall from the sky and be drawn across the New York landscape in a broad hunk of industrial charcoal—or a narrow hunk, considering my vantage point.
Outward appearance says a lot about a person. In the two solo comedies performed in Unisex, both characters grapple with their public identity through drastic physical changes. Unisex features the world premiere of The Politics of Hair by Lou Clark, a tale of hair-dos and don'ts, and Out Comes Butch by David Schein, an intimate look at the transition from He-man to She-ra and everything in between, in one night of theater at The Box Performance Space.
Over the last week, we've been experimenting with pickling and sprouting, two ways to make awesome components for whatever you like to eat. Techniques are still being formulated, so those recipes are forthcoming.
Despite the multiple cinematic explorations of his rocky relationship with Mother Nature, it’s difficult to get a handle on just what mad German director Werner Herzog thinks about the less urban areas of our globe. Films like Aguirre: The Wrath of God, Fitzcarraldo, Where the Green Ants Dream, Grizzly Man and Rescue Dawn have pitted Herzog’s iconoclastic, single-minded heroes (real or imagined) against the pitiless mercies of nature. It’s a battle that mankind rarely wins—at least in the lens of Herzog’s camera. So what is Herzog’s obsession with greenery? Does he have a love/hate relationship with Gaia? A fear/fascination with the Forest Primeval? Has he read Moby-Dick one too many times?Whatever the answer, Herzog’s works are nearly always fascinating to behold.
I hate decorative fountains. Hate. They have to be among the most passé landscaping and sculptural options in the Southwest. They're not only ugly and eye-rollingly typical, there's a practical reason to rail against them, too.
Mayor wants to resurrect a restriction on venues that serve alcohol at all-ages shows. Or does he?
By Simon McCormack
In the aftermath of the Club 7 raid, it’s become increasingly unclear what policy Mayor Martin Chavez thinks should be adopted regarding the sale of alcohol at all-ages events. It's also unclear how far such a ban would reach.
Why are state senators furious at the guv? Why did Rio Rancho opt for a two-hour delay in the middle of August? New Mexico finds itself in NASA's sights. What are New Mexico students getting better at?
Sen. Barack Obama swung through Albuquerque on Monday to talk health care, saying his policies would be similar to Gov. Richardson’s proposal for New Mexico. Sen. Hillary Clinton stopped in Española on Sunday to rally for Obama. Sen. John McCain was set to stump in Las Cruces on Wednesday.
It's not every day that a politician is equated with a short skirt-, tight sweater-wearing dancer who punctuates things with hearts and exclamation points. In fact, when one politician is speaking on behalf of another, headlines use words like "stump" or "rally" or "campaign." The article titled "The Cheerleader" in Monday's Albuquerque Journal calls Sen. Hillary Clinton a rival-turned-cheerleader (you're either a competitor or a pom pom-wagging gymnast, eh, ladies?).
Two separate events this year have convinced me that we should do away with the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District. Not reform it; not elect better people to its board of governors; not seek to improve it in any way. Just wipe it off the face of the planet.
Dateline: England—A 30-year-old woman in Salford, Greater Manchester, had to be cut free after accidentally impaling herself on a statue of the Hindu goddess Kali. According to London’s Telegraph, the unnamed woman fell onto the statue impaling her arm on several three-inch metal spikes attached to the devotional artwork. “We had to cut through the part that she had impaled her arm on,” a spokesperson for the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service told the Telegraph. “It took us 30 minutes to free her.” The woman was taken to Hope Hospital in Salford for treatment. Kali, a dominant figure in Tantric iconography, is typically associated with death and destruction.
The deadline for the Alibi's 16th annual Haiku Contest is near. Submit your haiku via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or snail mail to Alibi's Haiku Contest, 2118 Central SE, PMB 151, Albuquerque, N.M. 87106. Get them in by Friday, Aug. 22, at 5 p.m. for your chance to win crazy cool prizes and see your haiku in print on Sept. 4. Each poet may submit two haiku per category, and each haiku must follow the 17-syllable format, broken into lines of 5-7-5. Here are the categories as a reminder; now get ku-ing:
This abundantly illustrated book connects the basic shapes found in nature with effective graphic design. Its interdisciplinary approach reveals the patterns of nature and their powerful symbolic messages. The book also includes some deconstruction of symbolism embedded in familiar corporate logos.
We never see the tragic event at the heart of this story. But as much as David Lindsay-Abaire's Rabbit Hole is about senseless loss, it reveals how coping with loss' bewildering emptiness brings us together.
Bubonicon, Albuquerque's first and only sci-fi and fantasy convention, enters its quadragenarian phase this year. Despite a little future shock, the hobbyist gathering established back in the days of moon landings, acid tests, free love and rotary phones just won't burn out. The annual convention draws about 500 science-fiction, fantasy and horror enthusiasts rarin’ to meet authors, try cereals named after movies or dress up like a Sith Lord. As the convention co-chair, Craig Chrissinger was able to share some nonfiction about the event. (Oh, and for its 40th anniversary, give Bubonicon a ruby.)
With Indian Market in full swing, the Native Cinema Showcase returns to Santa Fe’s Center for Contemporary Arts Cinematheque. The eighth annual showcase (also screening at Cathedral Park) will feature new and classic films and videos introduced by the filmmakers, panel discussions and workshops for young people. Honorary host Gary Farmer will be on hand with executive producer Sharon Grimberg, producer-director Dustinn Craig, producer-director Ric Burns and director Chris Eyre for the Thursday, Aug. 21, opening night premiere of We Shall Remain: Geronimo, a documentary in which strong, contemporary Apache voices explore the legend of Geronimo. For a complete listing of films and events (Aug. 21-24), log on to ccasantafe.org. Call (505) 982-1338 to inquire about pricing and reserve a festival pass.
I was thumbing through the ol’ DVD collection a few days ago, trying to find something I hadn’t watched in a while, when I came across not one, but three horror classics from the ’80s packed onto a single disc. Being the glutton for fine ’80s horror cheese that I am, I just couldn’t resist the temptation. What disc was it, you ask? None other than the Troma Triple B-Header. Let’s get one thing clear: I love Troma movies. And while none of the films on this disc are written or directed by Troma legend Lloyd Kaufman, they certainly bear the mark of twisted excellence that Troma is proudly known for. So with popcorn in hand and a case of Mountain Dew at my side, I dug into the greatness that is the Troma Triple B-Header.
I spent the last month and a half in Hong Kong, watching the unprecedented buildup to the 2008 Summer Olympics. Seeing the countdown clocks in the subway stations, wading though the piles of Olympic mascot merchandise in every store (Nini! On a horse!) and marveling at how officials were always able to cram one more Olympic poster on one more building was quite the education. (Though Hong Kong and China are officially “one nation, two systems” until the year 2046, China didn’t pass up the chance to slap the word “Beijing” on every flat surface in Hong Kong, letting every picture-snapping tourist know exactly who was in charge.)
Another new all-ages venue popped up this month. The newly minted concert haven is a mashup of 1Kind Studios, a for-profit recording studio/performance space, and the Albuquerque Arts Consortium, a nonprofit group seeking to cultivate and nurture new artists.
K.K. Downing's reputation is pinned to a thin, metal rod called the whammy bar. Within notes of speed-metal bangers like “Sinner,” there's no room for doubt whose hands are working the pitch-bending piece of guitar hardware. But as signature as Downing's unleashed leads are, his ability to work in tandem with other musicians may be his most important asset. He and fellow founding Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton's seamless twin-lead sound holds an ungodly amount of sway in classic heavy metal.
I can remember when going out for sushi meant two things: no one would go with you because eating raw fish was gross, and finding a sushi bar was next to impossible. Not so anymore. Today, sushi is as common in Albuquerque as tube tops in a booty bar. Those who once squirmed at the thought of eating uncooked tuna and salmon are now old hands.
It’s clear that after the runaway success of 2004’s Sideways, Hollywood uncorked a profitable new genre: the wine movie. Next in line is Bottle Shock, set for release on Aug. 22. The film retells the infamous events of the 1976 Judgment of Paris, a blind tasting in which the unthinkable happened—a panel of French judges awarded California wines higher scores than France’s premier offerings. The landmark judging sent shock waves across the oceans, stunning the wine industry and forever elevating the perception of California’s wine in the eyes of the world.