If you've never been to a First Friday Artscrawl, well, that's OK. You've been busy. Work, the kids, your biannual attempt to read Ulysses; such is the busy stuff of life. But an Artscrawl is one of the best ways to see a ton of art, eat some cheese and make new culture-loving friends, finally enabling you to ditch your culture-hating ones. Let them stay at home and watch "Ghost Medium"—you've got better things to do. Openings and receptions are not just happening in Nob Hill, but all around the city. Artscrawlabq.org is the ultimate resource for all of the gallery goings-on for this Friday, Feb. 6.
When one realizes just how profound a moment in history Barack Obama’s ascension to the 44th presidency is, consider this thought from Dr. Finnie Coleman, interim dean at UNM’s University College and former director of African American Studies there.
The Warehouse 508 crew is ramping up for a month of rhythm. Despite battles over arts funding at City Hall, February will see a couple of music and poetry events sponsored by the youth-led organization.
Billa and Dave 12 present "A Boogie Affair: 5 ... 6 ... 7 ... 8,” featuring house music and your butt. From 10 p.m. to midnight on Friday, Feb. 6, at the Moonlight Lounge (120 Central NW). 21+, $3. (LM)
Topdog/Underdogtakes place in a room. A one-room apartment, no bathroom or running water, shared by brothers Lincoln and Booth. Younger brother Booth (Travis Sweatte) provides supplies through a gift for the quick steal, but his attempts to improve his lot with three-card monte are ham-handed and loud. It is older brother Lincoln (Darryl DeLoach) who was once the three-card king, and though he also has tried to make a different life for himself through “legitimate” employment, it’s the specter of his old life that hangs over the actions of the play.
Q: I’m interested in raising hens for the eggs, but we have a tiny backyard. Does two or three sound like a good number? Also, will the eggs hatch if we let them? And what’s the best way to procure chickens?
Home-style cooking is romanticized in our culture. Images of perfectly roasted meats—never ceasing to give off wafts of salty steam—and creamy mashed potatoes spring to mind at the invoking of “mom’s home-cooking.” But this image is ersatz, as real as the Parkay used in the potatoes. It’s not how your mom cooked; it's how she would have cooked if she had the money, time and skill. And maybe if she had loved you a little more.
What is the state's unemployment office doing to help folks who are out of work? Why was a DWI lawyer arrested? Lawmakers from the Southeast Heights want to stop calling the area the War Zone. And what kind of burglary ring do cops say they've popped?
Two wheels were missing during the Monday, Feb. 2, meeting, but the Albuquerque City Council plowed ahead without Councilors Michael Cadigan and Sally Mayer, who were excused. The Council sent the city administration a message to provide proof that the red-light camera program is effective. The resolution says within 60 days the administration will deliver all available information supporting or refuting the claim that the cameras prevent accidents and save lives.
Dateline: Australia—According to Queensland’s Courier Mail, an Irish carpenter on a working holiday in Australia pleaded guilty to a bizarre string of crimes, including robbing a Brisbane ticketing agency to feed his pet fish. Richard William O’Flynn admitted in court that he passed a note to a Brisbane Ticketek employee that read: “Give me all the [expletive] money from the till.” When he was told there was no money, he left and came back with a fish in a container of water. He then told the clerk he needed the money to feed his fish. O’Flynn also tried to hold up a bakery with a decorative cake knife after ordering a “gay wedding cake” for him and his partner. O’Flynn admitted to willful damage, attempted armed robbery, attempted theft and making threats over the telephone. He was sentenced to a year in jail by Judge Milton Griffin, who released him on the condition that he return to Ireland immediately. Griffin added at the sentencing that the community “would be pleased to see the back of him as he left Australia.”
The National Hispanic Cultural Center’s ongoing Spanish film series takes an entertaining diversion this month with Vampires, Demons and the Goth. This mini-retrospective leapfrogs from 1929 to 2005 to examine the history of the Spanish horror genre. The series begins on Thursday, Feb. 5, with 1959’s El Cebo, about a seemingly timid man who hides a second pathological personality guilty of kidnapping and murdering little girls. On Thursday, Feb. 12, the series continues with 1988’s Amanece, Que No Es Poco, a surrealist comedy in which an engineering professor returns to his native Spain to discover that his mother has been murdered. On Feb. 19, it’s Jess Franco’s delirious 1998 flick Vampire Blues and on Feb. 26, it’s Guillem Morales’ 2005 thriller El Habitante Incierto. All films are presented in Spanish with English subtitles. All films begin at 7 p.m. in the NHCC’s Bank of America Theater. Entrance is free, but seating is limited. For more info on Vampires, Demons and the Goth, log on to albuquerque.cervantes.es.
Animator pulls out all the stops for stop-motion fairy tale
By Devin D. Oâ€™Leary
Animator Henry Selick doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his work on The Nightmare Before Christmas. Tim Burton has his name stamped all over that Halloweeny classic, but it was Selick who directed the film and supervised its distinctive stop-motion animation. Selick also helmed the stylish 2001 adaptation of James and the Giant Peach. (For a glimpse of Selick’s early genius, hunt down his award-winning 1991 short “Slow Bob in the Lower Dimensions.”) Perhaps now Selick will get a little credit where credit is due thanks to his painstaking work writing and directing the dark-yet-juvenile fantasy flick Coraline.
Every year right around this time, dedicated but previously distracted movie fans race to the cineplex in a mad dash to soak up as many Academy Award-nominated films as possible before the awards ceremony. If you’ve slacked off for the past six months, filling up your Oscar dance card in the next few weeks will be a daunting prospect. Heck, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button will take 166 minutes out of your life and that’s only one of the films nominated for Best Picture.
This year, America’s television will cease to broadcast with radio frequency waves on the analog spectrum. Replacing it will be computer code, a more efficient form of broadcasting in the 0, 1 language of digital. The switch is set to take place at midnight Feb. 17. Legislation that would have delayed the end of analog until June 12 passed unanimously in the Senate on Monday, Jan. 26, and while it was expected to pass in the House, failed on Wednesday, Jan. 28.
A quick call to the FCC confirmed a dreadful rumor: Once the nation goes digital, white fuzz will be gone forever. Your TV will either get a clear picture, or it won't get the channel at all. Old analog televisions that aren't converted to digital will show nothing, said the FCC rep, audibly confused by why anyone would ask such a question. Gone will be the days of wraith signals, of watching faint shapes of people talking to you from behind a sheen of static. Gone will be the snow and its lulling shhhhh sound, sampled on so many great albums, a signifier of emptiness in the modern world. As a kid, I would let my eyes glaze over at the tingling pixels, and it was the first time I can remember meditating on that which is not concrete. Goodbye, sweet fuzz. How will insomniacs nationwide doze off at 3 a.m.?
Two categories of television stations are exempt from the federal government’s digital switchover: translators and low-power stations. Translators are basically signal boosters for metropolitan stations and are designed to serve a state’s more rural areas. Low-power (LP) stations are independent broadcasters usually confined to the UHF band of the television dial. Their low radio frequency (between 3 and 150 kilowatts) gives them a limited broadcast area. With even large corporate broadcasters struggling to make the original Feb. 17 deadline, few of these LP stations are capable of funding and installing the equipment necessary to make the digital change. So for now, the government is giving them a break.
With a digital converter box hooked up to their TVs, Albuquerque residents get more than 30 channels to click through. The high-definition versions of stations like Fox, NBC, PBS, ABC, CBS, CW and MY50 are all there. Plus, PBS nuts can check out several new channels, including PBS Create, the network's how-to channel with cooking, sewing and home improvement programs. Christian programming enthusiasts are also in luck. There are an arkload of Christian channels, including one en Español. Meanwhile, secular Spanish stations comprise a big chunk of the new channels as well. Below is a list from the New Mexico Broadcasters Association (NMBA) of the free digital channels available. According to the NMBA, some of these bonus stations are temporarily running identical programming, but once DTV gets going they will begin to broadcast diversified programming.
Who did an angry driver try to run over, according to sheriff's deputies? How much water does Southern New Mexico have? What's wrong with Powerball tickets in New Mexico? And why is a volunteer racquetball coach being indicted?
Sometimes the most interesting happenings at Albuquerque City Council meetings are not on the agenda. This was certainly the case at the Wednesday, Jan. 21 meeting when Councilor Michael Cadigan took on the mayor's men over the contentious red-light cameras.
In his 1748 essay “Of Miracles,” philosopher David Hume advised, “A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.” That is, how certain we are about something we’re told should be directly correlated with how good the evidence is for that claim.
Dateline: England—Tracey Fox of Thornley, County Durham, used her own body as a barricade to keep a repairman inside her laundry room in hopes of getting her washing machine fixed. Ten months after purchasing the appliance, it broke down. Fox placed five phone calls in December to have a repairman come out and fix it. Unfortunately, no one was able to come until after Christmas. Finally, on Jan. 13, a man finally showed up to check on the washer. “He said that I’d have to pay for any repairs, even though the machine was still under warranty, and I might as well get a new one because the amount it would cost would be the same as buying another one,” Fox explained. Fed up with her stinky clothes and lack of consumer satisfaction, Fox snapped. The 42-year-old mother of four braced herself against the washroom door and refused to let the repairman leave until the washing machine was fixed. The repairman used a cell phone to call police, after which Fox allowed him to leave. “She did let him go after a matter of minutes,” Inspector Craig Dixon, of Durham Police, told BBC News. “The matter was resolved without any arrests.” Fox told reporters she was not proud of her actions, but felt she had no other option. “It sounds stupid thinking about it now, but it was the final straw,” she said. The Curry’s appliance store where Fox purchased the washer has since offered to replace it at no charge.
Plenty of music is worthy of a television-themed playlist, but this mix of sometimes sad, bitter or freaky songs is mostly relegated to the realms of punk, proto-punk and post-punk. The Web doesn’t yield some of the MP3s I wanted to include ("I'm the Slime" by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, or The Victims' original "Television Addict"). I also purposefully excluded songs that would have worked nicely ("I Hate the TV" by Violent Femmes) and included a few songs with no mention of television ("Look Back in Anger" by Television Personalities), but the TV theme is obeyed overall. I like that most of these songs regard television with some degree of hostility: It's nice being reminded to be skeptical of the establishment ... while enjoying some really sick guitar parts.
Singer Damian Abraham (aka Father Damian or Pink Eyes) takes pride in the fact that all the injuries suffered at Fucked Up shows have been non-life-threatening. During an appearance on “MTV Live” in Canada, a fan got a mirror cracked over his back. In Austin, a stage-diving concertgoer knocked himself unconscious. “He did a running head-plant into the pillar and split his head open,” Abraham recalls. It seems the Toronto-based hardcore punk six-piece invites bedlam every time the lights go down.
“Gossip”—the photographic work of Josef Jasso, not the riot grrrl-soul of Beth Ditto—mouths off with a month-long exhibition at Blackbird Buvette (free, 21+). The Sunday, Feb. 1 reception features DJ Dirty Gold from 7 to 11:30 p.m. Tell your friends. (LM)
Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro is continuing its popular Movie Monday Nights promotion in the Cellar Bar. Classic films are projected silently onto a seven-foot screen starting at 6, 8 and 10 p.m. Five different martini specials are available for $5 each. Come drink in the taste and feel of old Hollywood every Monday. February’s schedule of films includes Psycho (Feb. 2), Splendor in the Grass (Feb. 9), Citizen Kane (Feb. 16) and The Great Escape (Feb. 23). Zinc is located at 3009 Central NE.
Fear(s) of the Dark is an omnibus of short animations commissioned and assembled by France’s Prima Linea Productions but composed by artists from around the globe. The subject--as one could reasonably guess from the title--is fear. These quick-and-dirty shorts run though a gamut of common human phobias: insects, needles, dogs, fire, tight spaces. Though they vary widely in subject and style, all are rendered in a stark, black-and-white palette. This gives Fear(s) of the Dark a bold and distinctive look.
It must be frustrating for movie studio executives. The Harry Potter books and subsequent movie series have set the bar for kiddie fantasy. That particular page-to-screen series has proved fantastically profitable and has no doubt stimulated the salivary glands of many a profit-seeking studio exec. It would seem, given the obvious evidence of Harry Potter, that young readers are eager for just about any young adult fantasy series to get snatched up and turned into a big-budget film series. So far, that has proved entirely false. With the epic failures of Eragon, The Seeker: The Dark is Rising, The Golden Compass, The Spiderwick Chronicles and many others, turning successful book series into successful film series obviously isn’t as easy as J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. would have us believe. Heck, even Disney recently balked at producing a third Chronicles of Narnia film, citing diminishing profits and spiraling costs.
Sinatra may have sung “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing,” but I tend to think Nazareth had it right with its classic version of “Love Hurts.” Where do you fall on the love-spectrum? Has it brought you untold happiness, moments of ecstasy, or has it repeatedly re-enacted the scene from Alien, with you as John Hurt and your heart and everything you believe in as the alien? The world needs to know. Share with us here at the Alibi by entering our sixth annual Valentine's Day Card Contest. Send in your entry, measuring no larger than 8 ½-by-11, by Feb. 2, to our offices at 2118 Central SE, Suite 151, Albuquerque, N.M. 87106. Our cracker-jack staff of experts will assess your work and divy up the bounty that is your birthright, fair artist. But hurry. One entry per person, please.
New Mexico Museum of Art presents Pulling Strings: The Marionettes and Art of Gustave Baumann
By Erin Adair-Hodges
Marionettes are strange things. The most complex type of puppet, they are carved from wood, jointed and controlled by a “manipulator” who works the strings from above the marionette's head. The movements of marionettes are otherworldly; never purely realistic, they evoke the sense that nothing is completely within one's control. A master manipulator takes years to develop his or her skill, as does the craftsman who carves the forms. Gustave Baumann was both.
Grab your remotes and pull up your TV trays. It’s time for dinner and a show, working-class style. To help you navigate the endless choices of processed food conveniently squirted into compartmented microwaveable plastic trays, the Alibi retreated to our top-secret, state-of-the-art test kitchen with a dozen different dinners. By the time we emerged, we had weeded out the inedible crap from the, well, edible crap. Here are our results:
Nancy Benson’s New Mexico Colcha Club: Spanish Colonial Embroidery and the Women Who Saved It
By Erin Adair-Hodges
When the first settlers made their way from Spain to what is now New Mexico in the early 1600s, they brought with them the essentials: sheep, seeds and fine embroidery. Embroidered textiles in some permutation or another are a part of nearly every culture, and New Mexico’s traditional embroidery, known as colcha, sprang from the detailed work found in Europe and hauled over an ocean to New Spain.
New Mexico’s ongoing problem with government corruption and what can be done to fix it
By Steven Robert Allen
Have you heard this story already? A couple weeks ago, Gov. Bill Richardson announced he wouldn’t be taking the post of U.S. commerce secretary due to a federal investigation into the possible connection between campaign contributions and lucrative state contracts awarded to a California company called CDR. Ever since the story broke, I’ve heard some version of the same question over and over again: Is New Mexico the most corrupt state in the country? Is it in the top three? Are New Mexico politicians all crooks? Why haven’t our elected officials done anything serious to address these scandals?
How much does a lawsuit say the state lost in another pay-to-play scandal? What's in New Mexico's cocaine? How much water did the citizens of Albuquerque use in 2008? What has a manager at a Hyundai car dealership been accused of?
State senator partners with Working Classroom to chop legislators down to size
By Marisa Demarco
In the ancient tradition of making fun of politicians, Eric Griego and his communications director, Sharon Kayne, penned a script about the 2009 Legislature. Sen. Griego moonlights as a stand-up comic, and his view from the belly of the beast looking out sharpens this play's edge. No one escapes, not Republicans, not Democrats, not SunCal, not the deficit.
Legislators were rolling up their sleeves last week, ready to get elbow-deep in the greasy bill-making process of the 60-day huddle. It happens every other year and yields the most new laws for New Mexico. Before the session even began, plenty of measures were posted in advance. The Alibi will bore into the insides of the session and pick out the most interesting bits for you here every week. But first ...
Dateline: Serbia—An armed robber was arrested after he held up a bank—and then returned minutes later to pay off his overdraft fees with the money he had just acquired. The man ran into the Kredi Bank in the Serbian ski resort Nova Varos wearing a ski mask and brandishing a shotgun. He demanded tellers hand over all the cash they had. The man got away with more than nearly $50,000 in cash. Staff were still recovering from the shock when the man—minus the ski mask—walked back in to settle his overdraft. Sharp-eyed staff recognized the distinctive red tennis shoes he was wearing and called police. The man, aged 33, was arrested and charged with armed robbery.
Former 16 Horsepower frontman David Eugene Edwards has been a murky American music figure for approaching two decades. Having begat a genre that could be considered alt.country, indie rock, Christian music or, at the same time, none of the above, the Denver-based artist just released his fifth album under the Wovenhand epithet. In support of Ten Stones, Edwards pays New Mexico a visit this week, playing as a three-piece with Pascal Humbert on bass and Ordy Garrison on drums. We rang him up on the old horn for a chat.
Basement Films will host a special one-night-only touring show featuring a fine selection of modern experimental films. Channeling: An Invocation of Spectral Bodies & Queer Spirits is a collection of film and video programs curated by Latham Zearfoss and Ethan White. Both curators will be on hand for the screening at Guild Cinema on Thursday, Jan. 22, at 9:45 p.m. The 68-minute program features a mixture of digital video, saturated 8mm, home movies, animation, greenscreen and more. The works in this program take a personal approach in dealing with the political and historical problems that haunt the queer experience: the AIDS pandemic, the body in transition, the idealized nuclear family and the narrow cultural standards of desirability. Among the artists represented are Vanessa Renwick, Elliot Montague, Shana Moulton, Michael Robinson and John Di Stefano. Admission is only $5. For more details, log on to channelingqueerspirits.wordpress.com.
Heavy drama paints marital strife in shades of midcentury modern
By Devin D. Oâ€™Leary
Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes continues his rumination on repression in suburbia (started in 1999’s American Beauty) with Revolutionary Road. That isn’t quite as big a headline grabber as “Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet reunite for the first time since Titanic.” But the truth of the matter is, those who come to the theater looking to recapture the heart-swelling romance of Titanic are going to be sorely disappointed—shocked even. On the other hand, those hoping for an even more soul-crushing dissection of the American Dream than the one depicted in American Beauty are on the right track.
Apparently families suck no matter what the nationality
By Devin D. Oâ€™Leary
In reviewing Nothing Like the Holidays some months ago, I remarked that holiday-centric dysfunctional family dramas are best enacted by large, ethnic progeny. “If the family must be Caucasian,” I wrote, “at least make them a colorful Southern clan.” Mere weeks later and someone’s already trying to amend my rules.
You can argue over whether Cartoon Network’s recent move toward more non-animated entertainment (“Goosebumps,” “Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace,” “Tim and Eric, Awesome Show, Great Job!”) is a good thing or a bad thing. Or you could just shut up and enjoy the laughs you’re given. Cartoon Network’s latest Sunday night Adult Swim addition is a fine example. “Look Around You” is a welcome BBC import largely devoid of animation but perfectly suited for CN’s block of mature, late-night weirdness.
While listening to “Studio 360” on the radio this morning (thank you, 89.1 KANW, for the awesomeness of your a.m. programming), I heard an interview with the poet Dana Gioia, departing chairperson for the National Endowment for the Arts. The program centered on artists' recommendations and wish lists for President Obama (say it with me, it's not a dream). Artists of all stripes are excited by the possibilities of this new administration; a commander in chief who confessed to not being a big reader has been replaced by one who is photographed with books of poetry tucked under his arm, his hands being full with BlackBerrys. It's become rote to say that America doesn't privilege art, but that's not necessarily endemic to our national character. Aside from Roosevelt's WPA program, Eisenhower recognized the importance of “soft diplomacy,” one that privileged cultural exchange, necessitating the development of our own artistic culture. Both Kennedy and Johnson were fierce proponents of arts funding as part of initiatives toward the realization of the New Frontier and Great Society. By the '80s, however, art had come to be seen as extraneous, or worse, un-American. My hard-earned tax dollars for a crucifix in a bottle of piss? Hell, no!
“Namaste,” says a small woman in a voice two decibels above a whisper. She pulls herself out of a shallow bow, her hands joined together as if in prayer. She opens her hands, gestures to a small, humble dining room and leads us to a white-clothed table, then disappears to get drinks.
Like discoveries in other experimental fields, the ones that happen in the kitchen are often rooted in mistakes. When way too many black peppercorns got dumped into hot oil for a pre-bean-fry, it seemed they were lost. What to do with a pile of soggy, greasy peppercorns?