When it comes to Oscar bait, you can’t go wrong with a biopic: Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland, Joaquin Phoenix in Walk the Line, Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote, Jamie Foxx in Ray, Adrien Brody in The Pianist, David Strathairn in Good Night, and Good Luck, Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator, Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland, Don Cheadle in Hotel Rwanda, Will Smith in Ali, Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind, Geoffrey Rush in Quills, Ed Harris in Pollock, Javier Bardem in Before Night Falls. ... And that’s just the Best Actor nominations since 2000.
Here’s one positive result of our economic downturn: Unike previous years, the 2008 Santa Fe Film Festival is short on sellouts, ensuring plenty of tickets for even last-minute visitors. SFFF executive director Jon Bowman admits, “We’re down a tad. It’s not the same level of attendance [as 2007].” Still, the man who helped found the much-respected festival nine years ago notes the “soft sellouts” mean even those who show up late can get tickets to most of the festival’s 115 different programs starting this Wednesday night, Dec. 3, and running through Sunday, Dec. 7. “If you procrastinated, you can wing it,” says Bowman. “Show up, wait in line and you’ll probably get in.”
Timothy Hutton? Good to see you again. Where you been keeping yourself, man? Lymelife? Reflections? The Alphabet Killer? The Killing Room? When a Man Falls in the Forest? Never heard of ’em. “Kidnapped”? Oh yeah. I meant to watch that, but they yanked it off the air after five episodes. The Last Mimzy? You don’t wanna bring that up, do you? Off the Black? Falling Objects? Heavens Fall? The Kovak Box? Avenger? Stephanie Daley? Nope, not ringing any bells. Yeah, well, you won an Academy Award for Ordinary People. That was cool.
It wouldn't be the holidays in Albuquerque without the New Mexico Jazz Workshop's Yule Struttin' party. Way back since 1992, the state's nonprofit jazz steward has decked the halls with shiny baubles, fine art, food, wine, women and song to put some sparkle in the holidays and a little coin in the organization's cash box. No "Gift of the Magi" corollary here--Yule Struttin' is a win-win for jazz in New Mexico.
Several years ago, NOBUNNY was hoping to travel the country as an animal Elvis impersonator. “I figured I could fill the animal niche since there’s already like a Thai-Elvis and an extreme-Elvis and all that stuff,” he explains.
Who started a petition against Gov. Bill Richardson? What kind of punishment could be abolished in New Mexico? Where, oh where to put an arena in Albuquerque? What's the hot item for thieves this season?
The city considers three options for expanding Albuquerque’s recycling program
By Simon McCormack
About 5 percent of the trash the city picks up gets recycled.
Mayor Martin Chavez and the City Council would like to see that number go up, but deciding the best way to make that happen is tricky.
Albuquerque doesn't actually recycle anything itself. Instead, recyclable materials left on the curb are sent to the city's processing facility, where items are sorted, crunched into WALL-E-style bails and shipped out of town to recycling plants.
Dr. Carlton Huitt tries to move out of the way when the Akita lunges into consciousness. He steps back as one of the dog’s legs makes contact with the bowl full of fluid he just pulled from the dog’s lungs with a large syringe. The container goes airborne, showering the doctor and veterinary technicians as they move quickly to hold the dog in place and keep her from falling off the X-ray stand.
Dateline: Japan—Puzzled zookeepers at the Kushiro Municipal Zoo in Hokkaido have finally figured out why a pair of polar bears intended for breeding have failed to get it on: turns out neither is a lesbian. Since June, Tsuyoshi, a four-year-old “male” polar bear, has been paired with an 11-year-old female partner named Kurumi. Neither showed much romantic interest in the other, leading zookeepers to a belated conclusion. “Observing his behaviors, we got suspicious as to whether or not Tsuyoshi was really a male,” the zoo said in a statement. The zoo put Tsuyoshi under an anesthetic early last month for a gender checkup and determined that he was a she. “I have mixed feelings,” Yoshio Yamaguchi, head of the zoo, told reporters. Tsuyoshi is very popular at the northern Japanese zoological park, and Kyodo News agency reported that zoo officials would not change his name to a female name. Tsuyoshi is a common Japanese name for boys. Experts say when polar bears are young, it is difficult to determine their gender as their long hair covers reproductive organs.
You cannot avoid art this week. I would even dare you to try, if I countenanced such things. This first weekend of December is possibly one of the Albuquerque art scene's busiest of the year, so stuff yourself on the fruit of inspiration.
Designer's Lounge seeks to become a center for the creative crafting community
By Erin Adair-Hodges
As a child, Teresa Romero didn't have the patience to learn how to sew. Her mother, Patty Melvin, a self-described “old-school” seamstress, tried with little success to teach her daughter what she herself had learned from her own mother and grandmother. It wasn't until Romero went to San Francisco's Design Institute, where sewing is required, that she picked it up again. Now, more than a decade later, she's decided to make teaching others how to sew and design her job.
Drive south along the San Diego shoreline in fall, spin inland toward the breweries of San Marcos and Escondido, grab a pint of double-hopped West Coast IPA at a beach-front pizzeria in Carlsbad and you'll deeply comprehend why Southern California beer tingles: It is the epitome of nature in a bottle, from a place where nature means teal waves and blonde babes.
It might seem a little strange to review frozen dessert when it's, to borrow a phrase common in the Midwest, “colder than a witch's booby in a brass bra.” But hear me out. Seasonally resplendent foods are great, but eventually steaming soups and endless turkey reincarnations get tiring. Sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I need to rebel and duck out for some good, holiday-inappropriate chow.
Michael Cooperman'sgenteel approach to demystifying wine
By Joseph Baca
There's much about wine that's open to satire, but no aspect of the industry is more caricatured than the sommelier. Wine experts have always been humorously depicted in popular culture as being erudite and intimidating in their patronizing indifference toward non-experts. The classic depiction of a wine steward is a tall, thin foreigner who belittles you for your lack of politesse.
Laurent Gruet is an animated character, to say the least. He possesses an unsettling self-assuredness, balanced with a quick grin and easy laugh. He talks fast with a thick French accent while wildly gesturing with his hands. It would be foolish, though, to not look deeper than his surface qualities, because beneath his playful, even boyish, demeanor is an intense man driven by a singular passion: wine.
People the world over know Rudolfo Anaya as the writer that has most eloquently articulated the Chicano experience for other cultures to appreciate. Most famous as the author of Bless Me, Ultima, Anaya is a retired UNM professor and a children’s book author, but few know that he is also an oenophile and wine critic. He's penned a series of wine reviews based on "The 12 Days of Christmas," in which he rated one wine a day. Here's a sample offering, in which this literary doyen clearly expresses the passion and poetry inherent in wine.
There's a saying among wine experts: "TYOP," or trust your own palate. Ultimately, only you can determine what’s good and bad in wine, so read what you can and attend tastings to discover which varietals and styles you like most. You'll figure out what's required for a wine to be above average or stellar along the way. Once you learn the basics, the rest is fairly subjective. Complexity (multidimensional flavors and aromas), balance and finish are what give a good wine its distinguishing characteristics. Over time, you'll be able to determine if a wine is flawed, how to properly pair food with wine, even which importer's products and which winemaker’s styles you have a preference for. You might even learn to identify the regional characteristics of a wine from a particular area.
There are a lot of wine terms the average drinker has to contend with: body, bouquet, legs, nose, yada yada yada. But the most disputed is terroir. Terroir is defined as a group of vineyards (or even vines) from the same region, belonging to a specific appellation, and sharing the same type of soil, weather conditions, grapes and winemaking savoir-faire, which contribute to the specific personality of a wine.
As you're reading this, you're most likely somewhere in the process of dealing with food; preparing, digesting, hoarding or reheating. Giving thanks for intangibles such as religious freedom and paid holidays is exhausting, which is reflected in the dearth of stuff going on this week. Once the first weekend of December hits, though, you'll be one busy consumer. So let me encourage you to avail yourself of the calm before the holiday storm (which may or may not be metaphorical) and enjoy these events at a leisurely, sated pace.
Belen’s Through the Flower Gallery shows Maureen Burdock’s feminist graphic novels
By Lisa Lenard-Cook
When feminist graphic novelist Maureen Burdock says she “can take a bad situation and transmute it with humor and with grace,” she’s being modest. Burdock has managed to find the light side in both incest and femicide. She is one of two winners of Through the Flower Gallery’s Feminists Under Forty juried competition.
Rumor has it the guv will take over which post in Washington? New Mexico may become home to what kind of controversial facility? What are kids getting high on these days? And which New Mexico industry needs help?
Local sci-fi novelist chats up a real-life space station commander
By Marisa Demarco
Walter Jon Williams found a unusual e-mail in his inbox in August. It was from NASA. Col. Mike Fincke would be lifting off in October, heading to the International Space Station for a four-month stint as its commander. The colonel’s a fan of Williams' work and is reading Implied Spaces—in space.
For six years, Amy Costello covered conflict zones in Africa, genocide in Darfur, child labor in Ivory Coast, AIDS orphans in South Africa. She worked as a correspondent for the BBC's "The World," Public Radio International and WGBH Boston. Ask Costello for a memory, and the story she tells is a curveball.
Is the city looking to hire private contractors to handle some of its recycling? Councilor Michael Cadigan wants to know. He started the Monday, Nov. 17 meeting by questioning Chief Operating Officer Ed Adams about the administration's plans. Adams said the city’s sorting facility is at maximum capacity, and the option's on the table. Cadigan said it would be better for the city to make money off recycling without going through a middleman. Farming the work to private companies, said Councilor Rey Garduño, sounds like privatization to him. Cadigan said he hoped the Council would be included in such a decision before the city signed what would have to be a big contract.
Dateline: Russia—Officials from the Russian Orthodox Church told BBC News that a 200-year-old church was recently stolen. The Church of the Resurrection had stood near the village of Komarovo since 1809. It was still standing in July, but some time in early October, thieves made off with it brick by brick. The disappearance of the historic church was not immediately noticed since it was in an out-of-the-way area and was not being used at the time. Church officials said they had been considering resuming services there. Unfortunately, all that remains now are the foundations and some sections of wall. It is assumed the church was sold off for building materials.
This Thanksgiving weekend, Albuquerque filmmakers David C. Valdez and Philip H.R. Gunn are pulling the curtain back on their crazed feature film debut, Klown Kamp Massacre. The campy horror/comedy will have its world premiere this Friday (10:30 p.m.), Saturday (10:30 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.) at Guild Cinema in Nob Hill. According to the filmmakers (who oughta know), Klown Kamp Massacre “masterfully blends gratuitous sex, clown-on-clown violence and fart jokes.” Imagine Friday the 13thwith cream pies and you’re halfway there. The film stars local actors Ross Kelly, Isaac Kappy, Chris Payne, Jared Herholtz, Dan Gutierrez and Tara Hahn and includes a special cameo by Troma Films president Lloyd Kaufman. If blood, boobs and balloon animals aren’t enough to convince you to get out there and support local film, this weekend’s screenings will also feature the very first trailers for Phillip Hughes’ Jigoku and Ryan Denmark’s Romeo and Juliet vs. the Living Dead. Tickets are $8 and are available in advance at the Guild box office (3405 Central NE, 255-1848).
The fact that Transporter 3 is directed by a guy named Olivier Megaton bears repeating. Not only is this guy French, he’s a former graffiti artist and has voluntarily rechristened himself after a high-yield nuclear device. That should give you a fairly clear idea of Transporter 3’s caliber. It’s the bomb, baby! ... If you’re into loud, frantic and aggressively unsubtle cinema, that is.
The average American will be forgiven for not knowing the name Dalton Trumbo. A generation ago, he was the poster child for free speech, unfettered artistic expression and the consequences of government run amok. Today, he at least rates a paragraph (more or less) to himself in most film history textbooks.
Sci-Fi Channel has been struggling with an identity crisis of late. I’m not sure why. It’s all clearly laid out right there in the name. Nonetheless, executives at the cable net seem confused. How else to explain “Extreme Championship Wrestling”? Or the reluctance to greenlight “Caprica”?
When it comes to vino, New Mexico has been in the ball game since 1629, when the first vines were planted in Socorro. This was years before the first Napa plantings were even a thought. Before you go jetting off to California’s wine country for your next tasting, investigate the ultra-hip regional wine destinations in your own backyard.
Film festivals are, traditionally, rather highbrow affairs. Genre-busting films are debuted, cinematic trends are discussed, famous filmmakers are feted and abstract golden statuettes are handed to various French, Senegalese and Kazakhstani directors. It’s safe to say that the company behind such movies as Blood Sucking Freaks and Fat Guy Goes Nutzoid would not be sponsoring a film festival of that nature. No, TromaDance New Mexico is not your father’s film festival.
Gov. Bill Richardson announced last week the winner of the “New Visions/New Mexico” Contract Awards. Fourteen New Mexico-based film/media projects have received contracts ranging from $5,000 to $20,000. This money will be used by the winning producers, directors and writers to start or complete various narrative, documentary, animated and experimental works. In the Documentary category, the winners were Marcos Baca of Albuquerque (The Zia’s Heart); Jimmy Baca of Albuquerque (Rising from the Ashes); Joseph Concha of Taos (Smokey and the Snowballs); Elke Duerr of Albuquerque (Wolves in New Mexico--The Great Divide); Ramona Emerson of Albuquerque (Gambling With Our Future); and Florentina Garnanez of Santa Fe (Yellow Fever). In the Animation category, winners were Catherine Friday of Albuquerque (The Sands of Time) and Kevin Ulrich of Edgewood (The Restoration: Rise of Zerad). In the Narrative category, winners included Jocelyn Jansons of Santa Fe (The Baby Monitor); Riyanka Kumar of Santa Fe (Mercury in Retrograde); Margot Segura of Las Vegas (Lipstick Princess); and Craig Strong of Santa Fe (La Bola Blanca). In the Experimental category, winners were Stephen Ausherman of Albuquerque (Kammer 2.1) and Melissa Henry of Albuquerque (Navajo Wool: As Told By Baa Baa).
Your hometown alternative paper has run Tony Millionaire’s “Maakies” comic strip for ... well, a really damn long time. Now, after, like, a freaking decade or something, Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim animation block has turned the cult hit comic into a weekly series. Just goes to show you how far ahead of the curve we are here at the Alibi. Or something.
And bring me the passengers--I want them alive! Hit By A Bus, The Big Spank, Sector 5, Seis Pistos and Felonius Groove Foundation have the death sentence on 12 systems. Friday, Nov. 21, at the Launchpad (all-ages, $5). (LM)
For seven years, Jim Ward tinkered with an Americana album.
The guitarist for defunct post-hardcore band At the Drive-In and lead singer of alternative rock outfit Sparta finally saw West Texas get pressed this spring.
Sleepercar is Ward’s very own project. He recruits a band to play on tours and gathers musicians (including his father) to play in the studio. Whether the group lives or dies depends on him. “It’s the band I get to have forever,” Ward explains. “Nobody can start or stop it, except for me.”
I'm starting to notice a pattern: If it's interesting or good, and it’s in New Mexico, it's usually at the end of a dirt road. Whether it's people living on the fringe of society, stunning vineyards or, in this case, fresh pasta, I find myself turning off the pavement to bounce along dusty alleys in search of what's hidden from beaten-path travelers.
My friend Lisa likes to talk about her Italian family's Christmas tradition. Every year her parents prepare a dish called bagna cauda, a hot dip made from olive oil, butter, garlic and anchovies. The dip is served like a fondue with accompanying vegetables such as cauliflower and peppers, and occasionally meats.
Nob Hill shop offers job skills to women with harrowing backgrounds
By Adam Fox
Lawyer Lisa Simpson is used to seeing the same women work their way through the criminal justice system. “They'd get released, and a month later they'd be back in the jail.” She saw a need—especially in Albuquerque, where programs for women are rare—to provide a way to help women get their lives back on track.
On Wednesday, Nov. 12, pranksters handed out thousands of fake copies of the New York Times with the front-page headline "Iraq War Ends" to commuters at several busy New York subway stations.
The paper, which is dated July 4, 2009, also includes stories with headers like "Maximum Wage Law Succeeds," "Nation Sets Its Sights on Building Sane Economy" and "Ex-Secretary Apologizes for W.M.D. Scare."
The elaborate ruse was carried out by three unnamed Times employees, a film promoter and an art professor. Notorious left-wing hoax squad The Yes Men also provided software and Internet support for the paper's accompanying spoof web page, which looks like the Times' site. The paper was meant to encourage politicians nationwide to push for a more liberal agenda.
Social worker builds a dating website for the mentally ill
By Marisa Demarco
Social Worker Elizabeth Barrett noticed something about her clients combatting mental illness: Those in relationships were thriving. "With people who had these social connections, signs of the illness diminished, and they were staying healthier for longer periods of time," she says.
Amid the general euphoria of Obama’s Electoral College landslide, while Democrats around the country exulted, shed tears of joy and jumped up and down in celebration, there was one curious interlude that I found very sobering: John McCain’s concession speech.
Hardheaded types like scientists and skeptical investigators are sometimes portrayed as dour debunkers devoid of magic and awe. They are seen as eggheads and naysayers who don’t believe anything wondrous that they can’t put under a microscope. Yet I passionately disagree. In 1997, I visited two of the great mystical “energy centers” of the world: the pyramids at Ghiza and the Peruvian ruins of Machu Picchu in the South American Andes. The Peruvian ruins sit atop a steep, verdant mountain, surrounded by lower hills emerging regally from cottony white clouds. The huge stone complex, which is a remnant of the Inca civilization, was rediscovered only recently (in 1911), having escaped the Spanish Conquest because of its remote location and rugged terrain.
Dateline: Turkey—The mayor of a Turkish city called Batman is suing director Christopher Nolan and the Warner Bros. movie studio for royalties from this summer’s hit film The Dark Knight. Hüseyin Kalkan, the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party mayor of Batman, has accused the Batman movie producers of unauthorized use of his city’s name. “There is only one Batman in the world,” Kalkan told movie trade publication Variety. “The American producers used the name of our city without informing us.” The mayor says the film’s success has had a negative psychological impact on the city’s inhabitants, blaming it for a number of unsolved murders and a high female suicide rate. The mayor is working on gathering evidence that he claims will prove the city of Batman predates the 1939 debut of Bob Kane’s superhero in DC Comics. “We are only aware of this claim via press reports and have not seen any actual legal action,” a Warner Bros. spokesperson said in a statement.
Twelve books for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or just ’cuz
By Lisa Lenard-Cook
This year's compilation focuses exclusively on books with New Mexico connections. Unlike the stock market, each of these books provides a guaranteed return on investment and will keep on giving throughout the year.
Writing this column is proving much more challenging than I anticipated. For the past three years, my life has been a whirlwind of activity, and the Alibi has been at the epicenter. I've learned many lessons, made lifelong friends and been a proud member of the kick-ass team behind Albuquerque's award-winning alternative newsweekly—which makes my departure that much harder.
Longtime New York art avengers ready to blow some ceilings in Albuquerque
By Marisa Demarco
In the 23 years since the Guerilla Girls started a feminist revolution on the streets of Manhattan, members worked their way into the belly of the exclusive art beast. At its conception, the group hung posters near museums to point furry, long-nailed fingers at sexism in the city's art houses. "Now we're in this position where sometimes the very institutions that we've criticized invite us to come show and to criticize them," says a Guerrilla founder, who goes by the code name Frida Kahlo.