Alibi V.18 No.17 • April 23-29, 2009

feature

Lyrical Warriors

Indigenous hip-hop at Gathering of Nations

Everything can change in one instant. RedCloud remembers well the moment that forever altered his life and set it skittering off on its present trajectory. He was in the sixth grade in Hawthorne, a predominantly black and Mexican-American community in South Los Angeles. (He's still proud to live there, now with his wife and 2-month-old son.) Sensing a fight, he joined a herd of kids as they broke into a run toward a patch of playground where two older black students were facing off. In Hawthorne, RedCloud says, kids learned to fight at a young age. Since the violence of gang life and abusive homes touched everyone sooner or later, toughness was a subject of study.

news

Answer Me This

What do police say was the weapon of choice in a robbery? Why are meth labs on the rise? What sparked a violent confrontation? And who visited New Mexico last weekend?

An Olive Branch

Native Americans capitalize on Obama’s promises to protect sacred sites

Laurie Weahkee speaks with groups large and small that are fighting to protect areas sacred to their people. Those fights, she says, are being lost.

Life in the West Bank

Palestinian journalist Ziad Abbas shines light on an American blind spot

In 1948, 750,000 Palestinians were forced to leave their homes. Ziad Abbas' mother was one of them. "My mom, she closed the house with a key, and took the key with her," she says. "She thought she would come back to the house in a few days."

It’s Always About the Green

Councilors weeded their way through what at first glance looked like a packed 4/20 agenda. They deferred some items, added others and approved in one swoop a consent agenda full of committee appointments, reports and grant applications. Then the Council got some work done. Sort of.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Russia—An immigrant from Azerbaijan living in the northern city of Saint Petersburg has been charged with hiring hit men to kill his 21-year-old daughter for wearing a miniskirt. The man’s arrest last week follows the detention of two other men from Azerbaijan—a majority Muslim, ex-Soviet state in the Caucasus—who confessed to murdering the girl. “They admitted to being paid 100,000 rubles [$3,000] by the girl’s father. They said he wanted to punish his daughter for flouting national traditions and wearing a miniskirt,” a police source told reporters at Agence France-Presse. The girl, a university medical student, was abducted on the street on March 8, taken to the outskirts of Saint Petersburg and shot twice in the head.

film

Reel World

Writer-director François Girard will present his underrated film The Red Violin as the opening night film of this year’s fifth annual White Sands International Film Festival in Las Cruces. The historical drama stars Samuel L. Jackson as a researcher at an auction house who tries to uncover the secret history of a famous violin, tracing it back through three centuries and multiple owners. The film’s 10 years old at this point, but it’s a good one, having captured an Academy Award for Best Musical Score in 1998. Girard, who also directed Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, will take part in a Q&A after the screening. Opening night for the fest is Thursday, April 23, and begins at 7 p.m.

Earth

Wait a minute. I know how this ends. The cheetah wins.

Between 1955 and 1971, the Walt Disney Company released a string of short-subject documentary films dubbed True-Life Adventures. The True-Life Adventures series contains some of the film industry’s earliest wildlife documentaries. The 20 or so films Disney produced introduced many a child to the world of nature and probably inspired the future career of a young biologist or two. Of course, the series is also notorious for a 1958 film titled White Wilderness, which depicts hundreds of migrating lemmings plunging off cliffs into the ocean in a mass rodent suicide. In the years since, science and biology (and documentary filmmaking) have progressed a bit. It’s now generally understood that lemmings racing across the tundra and drowning themselves on a yearly basis is nothing more than a myth, and that Disney’s filmmakers faked the footage in White Wilderness by, well, shoveling a bunch of lemmings off a cliff in Alberta.

The Informers

Too rich? Too bad.

Even if you missed the credits, you’d be able to tell almost the instant it started that The Informers is based on a book by Bret Easton Ellis. Like nearly everything the trendy, Reagan-era chronicler wrote (Less Than Zero, American Psycho, The Rules of Attraction, Glamorama), The Informers focuses on a group of wealthy young people who do a lot of drugs and have sex with one another in various gender combinations, all to the tune of Wang Chung. In between hedonistic bouts, they mope around, consumed with the ennui of fabulousness. It’s like “The Hills,” only with more nudity. And given that we now have “The Hills” (plus other simpatico reality shows like “Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County,” “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” “My Super Sweet 16,” “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”—not to mention Paris Hilton in all her public iterations), it makes one wonder just what purpose Ellis’ work serves in this day and age.

Not Just for Kids Anymore

G.I. Joe: Resolute on Cartoon Network

Honestly, I was a year or two too old to fully to appreciate G.I. Joe when it was relaunched in 1982 as a toy, cartoon and comic book line. I could still recall playing with the muscular 12-inch G.I. Joe in his late-’70s incarnation as part of the Adventure Team. (Instead of shooting Nazis, he fought gorillas and mummies and had that badass “Kung-Fu Grip.”) The G.I. Joes that were 3-and-3/4 inch just seemed wimpy to me. But the ’80s incarnation (G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero) had its legions of rabid followers who carry the “Yo, Joe!” banner to this day. Amid the flurry of nostalgic activity inspired by the live-action G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra movie hitting theaters this August, there’s a small piece of Joe history flying just under the radar that hardcore fans might want to take note of.

music

Music to Your Ears

Like salmon swimming upstream to spawn, skateboarders leave the concrete grind of Albuquerque each spring for the cool, mountain town of Jemez. On Saturday, April 25, the succinctly titled Jemez Springs Skateboard Competition Extravaganza returns to Jemez' municipal skate park.

International Espionage!

This spy-rock will self-destruct in five seconds

Tim Holly (aka Agent Number 6) says he could probably be in a non-theme band, but he can’t be sure.

Flyer on the Wall

Move. Groove. Groom. Your mustache. Stereotyperider headlines Toddy T-Bones’ Fifth Annual Mustache Party on Saturday, April 25, at the Launchpad with Split Hoof (follicly gifted Austin stoner rock) and more hirsute versions of Black Maria, Ends !n Tragedy and DJ Chach. Doors splay open at 8 p.m. No word on cover yet, but people without mustaches may be monetarily punished. There’s no peach fuzz at this party (21+ only). (Laura Marrich)

art

Mariposa Gallery

Founded 35 years ago, Mariposa Gallery is owned by Liz Dineen and Jennifer Rohrig. It features a new show monthly, with an opening on the first Friday of every month. The gallery focuses on exhibiting the artwork of New Mexico artists and features a great variety of works. Jewelry, ceramics, glass, textiles, wood, paintings, and mixed media are sprinkled throughout its small building (with a tiny second floor that shouldn't be ignored).

Culture Shock

Listen, kids, you can have your skateboarding rap “sexting” graffiti tournaments. Those things are loud and rarely have chairs available. Me, I'll take the classics: wine, poetry, radio stories, morality plays. Some may consider such diversions old-timey, but I like to think of them as time-tested entertainment that ends early enough for me to catch "Nightline."

Black Butterfly, Jaguar Girl, Piñata Woman and Other Superhero Girls, Like Me

Working Classroom examines and celebrates the lives of Latina teens

The world of teenage girls is a treacherous one. Alternately sunshiney and sullen, adolescent girls are virtuosos of eye-rolling, out-of-room stomping and door slamming. They're also funny, brave and kind, a potent mix that can make plumbing their psychological depths as impossible as it is imperative.

Serious About Comedy

James and Ernie

Comedians James and Ernie don’t lack for energy. And when I first saw their act at the All Nations Comedy and Music Revue in 2007, neither did the audience. Held at San Felipe Casino Hollywood, the revue primarily drew residents of nearby pueblos, and they lost their collective mind over the duo's Native American-centered humor. I was also struck by the importance of fry bread. Fry bread, be it the difference in texture from clan to clan or the difficulty in finding a mate who makes it like your mom, factored somehow into nearly every story they told.

Cross-National Collaboration

Words Afire Festival unites UNM playwrights with NYC directors

The transition from the world of academics to the professional world can be jarring. The debut of the New American Plays Initiative at the ninth annual Words Afire Festival is the UNM dramatic writing program's way to alleviate recently graduated students’ scholastic separation anxiety.

food

Independence Grill

Red-blooded beef for red-blooded Americans

There is no food more American than the almighty hamburger. It’s beefy and juicy, it lacks pretension and, when it’s grilled just right, it tastes a little like freedom. Despite its simple and inherent perfection, there's also no lack of folks who invariably come along and try to improve it. Maybe it's the meddling (if well-meaning) American in them.

Kabbalah Tabouleh

To pick one springtime recipe for y'all, we thought long and hard on an old-school Passover/Easter theme. Nothing flashy, something hearty: curry quinoa salad. Props to our gal pal Jesse for calling this one. Dried cranberries and snap peas do go together.

Alibi V.18 No.16 • April 16-22, 2009

Music to Your Ears

The New Mexico film industry's proverbial belt gets another notch punched in it this week, but it's not what you'll see that's making the state proud—it's what you'll hear. Albuquerque musician Tom Monahan composed the score for Fat Head, a nationally released docu-comedy starring, written and directed by Tom Naughton. The film is a direct challenge to Morgan Spurlock's 2004 Super Size Me (and, indirectly, an homage to Subway's "Jared" ad campaign). It follows Naughton as he eats nothing but fast food for 28 days and loses weight.

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Pearls Before Swine

Strong City stands by its spiritual leader and waits for deliverance—at the hands of God or the legal system

The northeast corner of New Mexico is home to towns few have heard of and static-filled radio broadcasts from across the nearby state line. Travelers passing through on their way to Colorado see miles of cattle-grazing land, the only sign of life an occasional cow raising its head to offer a noncommittal stare at passing traffic.

film

Reel World

On Friday, April 17, Albuquerque’s Public Academy for Performing Arts (PAPA) will host a screening of black-and-white silent films with original piano performances by film and piano lab students. The event will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. at the charter high school’s campus (4665 Indian School NE, Suite 101). Tickets are $3 at the door. This film and music event is a fundraiser to help PAPA students attend the Desert Light Film Festival in Alamogordo on Friday, April 24. PAPA Advanced Film students have been invited to project their experimental dance films onto the dunes of the White Sands National Monument as part of the grand finale for the film festival. Desert Light is a competition for middle school and high school students sponsored by New Mexico State University at Alamogordo and the Otero County Film Office.

It Never Gets Old

An encyclopedia of body swap comedies

They say there’s nothing new under the sun. And when that sun shines over Hollywood, the axiom is doubly true. This Friday, April 17, High School Musical hottie Zac Efron will star in 17 Again, a comedy about a middle-aged man who magically finds himself in the body of a teenage boy. If the plot (and even the title) sound familiar, it’s because Hollywood has tried this so many times, it’s developed into its own genre. The “body swap” comedy reached its height in the ’80s thanks to the runaway popularity of Big starring Tom Hanks. Now, the genre seems to be on the rise again. Earlier this year, that trend barometer Ashton Kutcher announced he would star in Traded, a body swap comedy about a superstar NFL quarterback who mysteriously trades bodies with a 12-year-old middle school geek. So how about a little perspective on this born-again genre?

Crips and Bloods: Made in America

SoCal camera dude trades surfing for banging

Easygoing Southern California documentary wizard Stacy Peralta (Dogtown and Z-Boys, Riding Giants) turns his attentions away from the recreational pursuits of his youth to more serious topics of SoCal culture in Crips and Bloods: Made in America. In his usual dazzling style (half MTV/half Ken Burns), Peralta gives viewers a compact and meaty history of South Central L.A.’s gang problem.

Familiar Ground

“Parks and Recreation” on NBC

Still looking to fill gaps in its Thursday night schedule (See ya, “Kath & Kim.” Not like we’ll miss ya.), NBC has talked the creators of “The Office” into contributing another sitcom. Though “Parks and Recreation” isn’t an actual spin-off of “The Office,” it’s as close in subject and tone as a show can be. Wisely, the show is designed as a vehicle for star Amy Poehler.

art

Dry Heat Gallery

Dry Heat Gallery is focused on uplifting the human spirit through its exhibitions. The mission of gallery founders DeAnna Dimmitt, Rick Meiers and Angela Gaeto is that no one should be afraid to step into a gallery, and to that end they work to create educational and enlightening exhibits. In addition to the stable of artists who work at Dry Heat Photography, the gallery hosts juried fine art photography shows. Dry Heat Photography sponsors the Soul Portraiture, a series of open-submission exhibitions that attempts to capture the energy and spirit found within a variety of subjects. The fourth,"Electro-Light," a look at the ambiance of nightlife, will open in June at Dry Heat Gallery and will be the first Soul Portraiture exhibit at the gallery. Amateur and professional photographers interested in submitting for the juried show can get details at the gallery website's "Call to Artists" section or at dryheatblog.com. The next submission deadline is May 31.

Culture Shock

There's a profusion of witty truisms about the power of books, roughly half of them coined by either Mark Twain or Oscar Wilde. But I think my favorite is William Faulkner's entreaty: "Read, read, read." Or listen to people read. Also, talking about reading is good. Luckily for you, there's mucho going on around this two-area code state to facilitate your print and pulp addiction.

Going to the Heart of the Story

An interview with Amy Goodman

Amy Goodman is left-wing royalty.

Her radio and TV show “Democracy Now!” is broadcast on more than 750 stations worldwide. She’s also co-authored three New York Times bestsellers with her brother, David Goodman.

Dead Poets Society

The connections between art, madness and tragedy are often sensationalized. Far be it for us to go against that grain. Match these famous poets with the way they died and some of their verses. Happy Poetry Month!

news

Answer Me This

Soon you may be prescribed cannabis for what condition? How did a Bernalillo official spend citizens' cash? Court records say this guy ducked his DWI trial by ... . And who is commending the state for doing away with capital punishment?

Y’all Ready for This?

Rivalries and roster shakeups foreshadow a dramatic season

“Hit harder!” The Vixenator demands as her fellow Ho-Bots circle her at the Wells Park Community Center basketball court. “Don’t rely on your elbows. Rely on your shoulders and your legs.”

Keeping Score on Title IX

One legislator drives New Mexico to size up gender equity in school sports

Rep. Danice Picraux remembers playing basketball for her high school in New York City. "We wore funny-looking gym outfits," Picraux says. "We didn't even have uniforms."

Thin Line

In the Alibi's April 2-8 issue, I ran a story called "The Burrito Vendor" by Isaiah Montoya that contained some bad information.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Michigan—Detroit police bravely waded into a public park and broke up a pillow fight last weekend. The impromptu pillow fight was scheduled to take place at Campus Martius Park on Saturday, April 4, and was one of at least 50 slated across the world. World Pillow Fight Day was organized through the website pillowfightday.com and a number of online social networking sites. Despite the seemingly innocuous nature of the event, police swarmed the park and shut down the event. “I am furious,” 23-year-old Elida Quesada of Ferndale told the Detroit News. “[A pillow fight] is so silly and childlike. It would have been fun. It seems like everything that is fun is illegal.” Officers in blue jumpsuits were reportedly polite to the would-be participants but were firm about confiscating any and all pillows. One officer told a unarmed fighter that 5,000 of the fluffy headrests had been seized by the 4 p.m. start planned for the event. Michael Davis, 32, of Hamtramck told the Detroit News, “They took my pillows but let me keep my cases. They told me I needed a permit. I can understand.” Scott Harris, a 48-year-old Ferndale resident whose pillow was taken by officers, was not as understanding. “It is not illegal to own a pillow,” he was quoted as saying. Detroit Police spokesperson James Tate would not tell reporters how police learned of the event in advance but said there were numerous Internet postings. Tate said the unsanctioned event posed a “cleanup issue” and there were concerns about people getting hit who did not wish to participate.

music

Mike Watt

Ex-Minuteman ponders mortality while practicing an opera

Punk institution Mike Watt considered a lot of influences in designing his third rock opera: Walt Whitman, The Wizard of Oz, Watt’s own past recordings, “jackalopes and shit.”

Lionel Loueke Trio

African-inflected guitar and telepathy

Blending simple, beautiful African melodies with forward-looking harmonies, a deep groove and an unusually percussive repertoire of vocalizations, guitarist Lionel Loueke has quickly captured the imagination of jazz audiences. He’s also won the respect of some of its biggest heavyweights, including Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.

food

Factory Farm Bills

Separating the alarmist hype from the scary truth on Capitol Hill

My inbox has been pummeled by e-mails warning me of the evils of a bill working its way through Congress. Sponsored by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., H.R. 875—aka the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009—is one of a raft of bills introduced in the wake of the peanut butter-borne salmonella outbreak.

Alibi V.18 No.15 • April 9-15, 2009

Shutter to Think

The Alibi’s sixth annual photo contest

In her groundbreaking work On Photography, essayist Susan Sontag posited, "A photograph is not an opinion. Or is it?" She was kind of a tricky dame that way.

feature

Extra Photos

There were far more fabulous photos than we had room to run, so take a look at some of our other favorite finalists.

news

Answer Me This

How is one high school rewarding students for good scores on standardized tests? What was seized by authorities in a raid? How happy is New Mexico? And the state bans which form of animal euthanasia?

Water You Drinking?

A watchdog group says groundwater contamination could exist and we’d never know it

Groundwater from Albuquerque’s aquifer lies less than 500 feet below Sandia Labs’ Mixed Waste Landfill.

Thin Line

Like a tar-black sludge, sticky and suffocating, the last eight years of American politics dripped over our faces, plugging eyes, noses, ears, mouths. As Bush-Cheney White House atrocities oozed into the public consciousness, we were numb, deaf, blind—unscandalized.

Mayor to Workers: About That Raise ...

Albuquerque city councilors were in a laid-back mood when they trimmed their lengthy agenda to less than a handful of items during the Monday, April 6 meeting. Before getting any real work done, they heard public comments for a couple of hours. Many speakers focused on funding city parks, but there were also remarks from blue-collar city employees protesting the mayor’s belt-tightening request.

Herd Yet to Be Thinned

While there are still eight candidates running for mayor, only three qualified for public financing. City Clerk Randy Autio said Richard "R.J." Berry, Mayor Martin Chavez and Richard Romero received their cash last week. Berry took in $319,000, Romero pocketed $297,000 and Mayor Martin Chavez qualified for more than $328,000 to spend on his as-yet-unannounced campaign. Autio explained the amount varies because seed money and in-kind contributions are subtracted from what candidates pull from city coffers.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Bosnia—A desperate husband tried to kill his mother-in-law with an antitank missile launcher after claiming she turned his wife against him. The woman survived the missile strike—and a subsequent machine gun attack—with barely a scratch. Miroslav Miljici apparently wanted revenge against his mother-in-law for the breakup of his marriage. Miljici was sentenced to six years for attempted murder by a court in Doboj. In defense of his unsuccessful, high-caliber murder attempt, Miljici told the court he could no longer stand his mother-in-law’s nagging.

music

The Smile Ease

Moose, bears or volcanoes

A few minutes after my interview concluded with The Smile Ease bassist Marc Bourdon, the Anchorage resident shot me an e-mail with this message: “I did want to add another crazy thing about Alaska. There is a big volcano, Mt. Redoubt, that is screwing up all the air traffic in Anchorage. There is a really shitty chance that the volcano could screw up our flights and make us miss one or many of our shows if we can’t get out.”

Last Night I Dreamt That Morrissey Did an Interview With Me

But I woke up and it was just another false alarm. So, instead of sardonic insight into the iconic British singer's mind, you get the Morrissey Singles Album Art Challenge! Take out your clumsy pens and match the Morrissey or Smiths single art to the correct song and let the sadness sink in.

Flyer on the Wall

Hardcore punk act No Harm Done came all the way from Florida to break in Thread: Space, a new venue at 5909 Marble NE (near San Pedro and Lomas). Locals Highland Park, Dead Hours and Easier Said Than Done open the doors on at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 9. All-ages, $5. (Laura Marrich)

film

Reel World

Comic book and pop culture collectible shop Astro-Zombies is celebrating its brand-new-and-improved location (four doors west of the old one, on the corner of Richmond and Central) with an honest-to-goodness celebrity visit. Ray Stevenson, star of the recently released on DVD action film Punisher: War Zone, will be at the store on Saturday, April 11, from 2 to 4 p.m. for an autograph signing. Stevenson, also known for his work as Titus Pullo on HBO’s “Rome,” is in town shooting the postapocalyptic action flick The Book of Eli for the Hughes brothers. Drop on by and say hello to the nice man. Astro-Zombies is now located at 3100 Central SE. For more info, log on to astrozombies.com.

The Underground Amok

Bizarro filmmaker Craig Baldwin brings ephemeral weirdness and conspiratorial sub pop to town

Since the ’70s, Bay Area filmmaker Craig Baldwin has been piecing together 16mm snippets of found footage and creating cinematic collages dealing with topics such as imperialism, copyright law and the paranormal. Baldwin’s efforts function as an affront to what he calls “rarefied, hushed art” and—in favor of creating a horizontal exchange rather than a hierarchy—attempt to demystify art that takes itself seriously. Six years ago, Baldwin helped establish Other Cinema Digital (OCD), a niche DVD label housing 21 titles. OCD seeks to promote media archaeology and broaden the imprint of underground film. As the culmination of the monthlong Other Cinema festival at Guild Cinema, Baldwin will make three appearances at the indie art house theater. Baldwin will accompany screenings of his latest feature, Mock Up on Mu, which explores the alternative history of “post-war” Southern California. The film is crawling with sex magic, spiritual hierarchies, devil worshipping and aerospace gone wrong. Before his visit, the Alibi got Baldwin on the horn to talk about saucers and rockets.

Alien Trespass

Z-grade sci-fi movie asks, “When is a spoof not a spoof?”

Masquerading as a long-lost film rescued from a dusty studio vault after 50 years, Alien Trespass keeps a straight face while replicating—to the letter—its creatively and financially impoverished drive-in movie predecessors. Though virtually the same gag was pulled off in 2001’s The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, Alien Trespass still qualifies as a treat for those with a nostalgic taste for Z-grade Hollywood movies.

On the Beat

“Southland” on NBC

Generally speaking, television producers seem to have two ideas in their bag of tricks: doctor dramas and police dramas. So it’s no real surprise to find that creator/producer John Wells is following up his 15-year run on the recently concluded med show “ER” with the new cop show “Southland.”

art

Culture Shock

Is it White History Week again already? You know, even though the stores are filled with decorations, it sneaks up on me every year. White History Week, rather than a reiteration of the sort of rich white male history that takes up most weeks of the year, seeks to explore how racial identity is constructed and defined. The events, which take place Wednesday, April 15, through Tuesday, April 21, include workshops, poetry readings, theater performances and a Shabbat dinner. If you're interested in truly investigating race and racism (and apparently, just because Obama is president does not mean racism is dead), then go to nmantiracism.blogspot.com for more information about events, places, times and topics.

2009 ABQ Grand Slam

We’re not talking Denny’s

For more than a decade, Kenn Rodriguez and the other members of ABQ Slams have enticed youth to give poetry a try.

Stallin’

Larry Bob Phillips recently completed a mural in the men’s restroom at the Atomic Cantina. It’s a beautifully complex mess of desire, sadness and digestion involving bombs, pasta and sex. Phillips lives in Albuquerque and will be an artist-in-residence in Roswell beginning in August.

food

The Kitchen Ink

There are as many ways to express our love of food as there are people on this planet. Some of us live in kitchens, some travel in search of new tasty tidbits and some just sit back and critique (ahem). Significantly fewer foodies declare their obsession with that most permanent of expressions: the tattoo. In honor of this paper’s annual photo contest, we present a small roundup of New Mexicans who proudly wear their stomachs on their sleeves. We know this only scratches the surface of what’s out there: If you’ve got a tattoo that looks good enough to eat, post a picture of it as a comment under this article.