Alibi V.18 No.20 • May 14-20, 2009

South Valley Showdown

Residents square off against manufacturers near their homes

For decades, homeowners in the South Valley's Mountain View neighborhood have put up with pollution in their backyards.

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2009 Summer Film Guide

Sixteen weeks’ worth of popcorn, air conditioning and ... oh, yeah, movies!

Mark your calendars and buy your tickets now on Fandango. We’ve got Terminators, Transformers and two (count ’em, two) Sandra Bullock romantic comedies hitting movie theaters between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Peace, Love and Easy Rider

Taos remembers the Summer of Love

In 1968, a young Californian set out looking for a place to shoot a movie—a movie about motorcycles, a movie about the counterculture emerging in America, a movie about sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll.

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Answer Me This

Why are ghost experts coming to New Mexico? Which big-time politician is swinging through town? Why did a former UNM president resign from his White House job? And why is a Pokémon card game club in trouble?

The Calm Before the Storm

The Oct. 6 election is nonpartisan, but party money and support will likely find its way into the race. And with battle lines being drawn on the Democratic side—there are two Dem contenders—campaign season will no doubt be full of twists and turns as the candidates move toward the checkered flag.

Screen Time

Easy ways to improve Albuquerque's community cable

Last week Marisa Demarco reported on the new community cable channel 26 called Encantada TV [Re: News Profile, "Encantada TV," May 7-13]. It will primarily focus on arts and culture and is operated by Channel 27 group Quote... Unquote, Inc. During the fanfare on Civic Plaza surrounding Encantada’s launch, there was a humorous moment with blindfolded kids trying to bust a television piñata.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: China—A regional government has backed off a rule urging local government workers to smoke more in order to boost tax income. Authorities in Gong’an County ordered civil servants and teachers to smoke 230,000 packs of the locally made Hubei brand cigarettes each year. Those who did not smoke fast enough or used brands made in other provinces were fined or even fired, reports the BBC. The government backtracked after an official was interviewed in a local newspaper. “The regulation will boost the local economy via the cigarette tax,” Chen Nianzu, a member of the cigarette market supervision team in Gong’an county, Hubei Province, told the Global Times newspaper. As the story spread, the local government’s website published a statement saying simply, “We decided to remove this edict.”

music

New Mexico's most venerated rock bar—and recipient of a 2008 Nickelodeon Parents' Pick award for Best Place for a Parents' Nite Out, lest we forget—turns the ripe old age of 12 this weekend. To commemorate more than a decade of hearing damage, the Launchpad will once again turn up the volume with a birthday music marathon on Saturday, May 16. Doors open at 3 p.m., and a first come, first served "food/barbecue thing" prepared by Richard Agee is covered in the $5 admission charge—but you must be 21 or older to get in. Sorry, actual 12-year-olds. If you throw your shoes in a fit of adolescent jealousy as you read the scheduled lineup, I'll understand:

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Reel World

The New Mexico Filmmakers Showcase returns to the Guild Cinema this weekend. Thursday night is the opening gala. It’ll take place from 6 to 7 p.m. at Laru Ni Hati/Café Cubano (3413 Central NE) with screenings following promptly at 7 p.m. at Guild Cinema. Dozens of features and shorts from amateur, aspiring and professional filmmakers right here in New Mexico will be shown at the four-day, open-sheet screening. Documentaries, comedies, musicals, dramas, horror, sci fi and more are represented, with more than 30 hours’ worth of films screened though Sunday night: You’ve got plenty of time to get over there and check out all the offerings. Admission for any and all screening blocks is free to the public, courtesy of the New Mexico Film Office. For a complete listing of the films and times, log on to nmfilm.com.

Rudo y Cursi

Soccer-loving siblings miss the goal in occasionally corny dramedy

The last time Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna hooked up on screen it was in a little film called Y Tu Mamá También. That famously sexy drama, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, became a runaway art house hit, nabbed countless awards and ended up nominated for an Academy Award. Now, seven years later, the actors have reunited for another film with director ... oh, wait, that credit says “Carlos Cuarón.” That’s Alfonso’s little brother. He’s directed a couple of short films. OK, so maybe expectations shouldn’t be so high.

Angels & Demons

Papal murder mystery actually more exciting than decoding Da Vinci’s paintings

Honestly—even in a fictional world where novelists, mentalists, pastors, caterers, librarians, chefs, ancient Romans and cats are called upon to solve mysteries—Dan Brown’s character Prof. Robert Langdon is among the more preposterous amateur sleuths. He’s a Harvard symbologist, which makes him uniquely suited to solve mysteries in which a member of the baffled police shouts, “Mon Dieu, this man has been murdered! Somebody get me an expert on poetic and artistic symbolism. I suspect an archetype may have been involved.”

Sci Fi

Does it work on TV?

Let’s be honest, shall we? Television has never been particularly kind to science fiction. Sure, Rod Serling had a good run on “The Twilight Zone” back in the early ’60s. But even some of TV’s most venerated sci-fi series haven’t had a particularly easy time of it. “Star Trek” is as big a pop cultural touchstone as you can find, having launched five TV series and 11 feature films—including J.J. Abrams’ reboot, which hit theaters last weekend. But the original 1966 series never rose higher than No. 52 in weekly ratings and was canceled in the middle of its third season.

art

Chroma Studio and Gallery

Chroma Studio and Gallery first opened in October 2008, but already it's moved to a bigger arena to accommodate its growth. Its new 9,000-sq.-foot Downtown space opened to coincide with the April First Friday ARTScrawl. The new digs include the gallery and studios as well as performance and classroom spaces.

Culture Shock

There's a lot going on this week, too much spend our time together on bon mots and anecdotes culled from the memoirs of Dominick Dunne.

Hey, Hey, Goodbye

An elegy for the College of Santa Fe

Something that struck me the first time I read Romeo and Juliet was the thought that, well hell, now that the kids are dead, both of these families are going to have to find some way to get them back, to return to that healthy, portentous place where the future looks fruitful. It was arrogant to think that it couldn’t get to that point; that the kids would always be around.

food

Big ’n’ Tart

Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek

Big life happenings deserve the "bottle service" treatment. Anniversaries. Graduations. Restaurant openings. Fridays.

Ezra’s Place

Sophia’s little brother is quirky but charming

Upon hearing of the opening of Ezra’s Place, my interest and excitement were piqued, and for more than one reason. The proprietor is Dennis Apodaca, the man behind Sophia’s Place. Sophia’s is treasured locally and has even caught the attention of Guy Fieri, landing it a spot on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." And the location—the Lucky 66 Bowling Alley (spitting distance across Fourth Street from Sophia's)—couldn’t have been more intriguing. Inventive cuisine served amid the polished maple lanes? I’ll take a size 6 1/2 and the booth in the corner, please.

Alibi V.18 No.19 • May 7-13, 2009

Artspace 116

Artspace 116, nestled on the second floor between the First and Second block of Central, is a community service gallery that features artists without a gallery affiliation. Past Artspace 116 exhibits include mixed media, photography, oil painting, lithography, and porcelain and iron works. Gallery showings are typically one-person exhibits of work by New Mexico artists. Don and Pamela Michaelis opened the gallery in November 2004. It's now run by the staff of The Collector's Guide, a website and print magazine focused around the visual art of northern New Mexico and the Southwest.

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No Destinations

On the way to nowhere in particular, there’s plenty to see

There are about 60,000 miles of highway snaking across New Mexico. They cross back and forth over the varying depths of the Rio Grande Valley, up and down steep, jagged mountains blanketed with towering ponderosa pines, and in and out of scraggly mesquite-strewn deserts. Some of those miles are smooth and paved. Others are barely discernible from the landscapes they traverse.

The Recession-Proof Summer

Cheap or free events in Albuquerque


Festivals

May 23-25: Wine lovers rejoice. The Albuquerque Wine Festival hits the Balloon Fiesta grounds this Memorial Day weekend from noon to 6 p.m. each day. Entry is $15 and includes a souvenir glass (kids under 21 get in free with a parent or guardian). Visit the New Mexico Wine Growers Association website to discover other festivals happening around the state this summer.

music

Music to Your Ears

Talk about synergy. Warehouse 508 is inviting teens to tour its soon-to-be-opened 26,000-square-foot venue in the heart of Downtown (508 First Street NW, just south of Lomas) on Saturday, May 9. After you've had a good look around, you can jump onto a "VIP" tour bus to Warehouse 21, Santa Fe's successful youth space and 508's mentoring sister site. Then you'll get to see how they do it in the City Different with an all-ages concert from Definition Rare, Asper Kourt, The Harlow Defense, Zagadka and the Duke City Youth Poetry Collective.

Zack Freeman

The sound of one voice clapping

Zack Freeman got tired of being in a band, so he started wearing a sampler.

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Culture Shock

It's that time of year. You can feel it in the air, smell it on the 50-mph winds whipping your skull. It smells like ... brief spurts of genius. That's right; it's time for the Alibi's annual Flash Fiction Contest. Every year we ask our creative readership to strip their prodigious prose down to its essence. In this case, that's 119 words’ worth of story nuggets. Too limiting? Then consider this Hemingway treasure: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." That would give you another 113 words with which to blabber on. Come to think of it, 119 words seems a bit much, but such are our long-established rules.

Through the Labyrinth

Paintings by Thomas Christopher Haag at Cirq

In Greek mythology, the Minotaur was a monster with the body of a man and the head of a bull. His birth story starts with Minos. Minos prayed to Poseidon, highly temperamental god of the sea, to send him a sign that the throne of Crete would be his. Poseidon sent a snow-white bull intended for sacrifice, but instead, Minos decided to keep it for its beauty and sacrifice another. Naturally, Poseidon was peeved, and in spectacularly weird Greek myth fashion, made Minos' wife Pasiphaë fall in love with the bull. She in turn asked the famed architect Daedalus to build her a wooden cow that she climbed inside of in order to mate with the bull. The progeny of this cursed coupling was the Minotaur, who was later imprisoned in a labyrinth and killed by the hero Theseus for various assorted, well, labyrinthian reasons.

Good Fences

Best-selling author Michael Datcher and the fear of being real

Los Angeles-based writer Michael Datcher has a roving eye, at least as far as genres are concerned. He's equally enamored with memoir, fiction, poetry and journalism and refuses to commit to just one. His 2001 autobiography Raising Fences: A Black Man's Love Story was featured as part of the Today Show Book Club series and caught the eye of none other than Dame Oprah. Raising Fences chronicles Datcher's childhood growing up fatherless, given up by his birth mother for another woman to raise. It takes a naked look at how black boys become black men often without any men around. It's a cycle that Datcher hopes, through honest examination, will be broken.

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Answer Me This

What effect is swine flu having on New Mexico sports? What delayed a Rail Runner train? Why were people at a Gallup flea market arrested? And big news in Nambé Pueblo.

Desert Rock Gasps for Breath

The feds motion to yank the permit for a disputed power plant

Sarah Jane White lives in a log house on open rangeland a little ways south of Farmington. The house is small, 48 years old and was inherited by White when her mother died.

Encantada TV

Tune in to Albuquerque

Creative work in Albuquerque continues to bloom, but its fruits aren't always seen.

Thin Line

Have you had enough of the swine flu pandemonium yet?

You can't turn on a TV, power up your computer or open a newspaper without seeing a flurry of flu fanaticism.

Thumping Chests

A stern City Council clipped its way through the Monday, May 4 meeting. After clearing up routine matters, the Council, minus Sally Mayer, approved hiring an outside attorney to go head-to-head with Mayor Martin Chavez. At issue: the capital budget bill. The Council says its version is valid. The mayor says it isn’t.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Serbia—A union official said he cut off his own finger and ate it to show how desperate he and other workers are over wages that have gone unpaid for years. “We, the workers, have nothing to eat. We had to seek some sort of alternative food and I gave them an example,” Reuters news service quoted Zoran Bulatovic as saying. The Raska Holding textile factory union leader used a hacksaw to chop the little finger off his left hand last week in the town of Novi Pazar in southwest Serbia. “It hurt like hell,” said Bulatovic. Bulatovic said the worker’s demands will not stop, but that further self-mutilations will be postponed until expected talks with government officials.

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Reel World

Attention, comic book fans: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (creators of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) need your help. They’ll be in New Mexico this summer shooting their new film Paul, a comedy about a couple of middle-aged fanboys who road trip back from the San Diego Comic-Con and stumble across a crashed UFO, complete with alien (the titular Paul), in the American Southwest. Producers will hold a casting call for Star Wars, Star Trek, and “other science fiction and Comic-Con” fans and devotees this coming Saturday, May 9, at Far Horizon Studio (304 Washington SE). This casting call will last from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Come in your best superhero or science-fiction costume. (Like you need an excuse to break out your Boba Fett helmet.)

Gigantic

Quirky characters, dysfunctional families and Zooey Deschanel? Indie comedy follows the formula, but still feels fresh.

There’s reason to believe that first-time writer/director Matt Aselton is a talent to watch. His first outing, the pleasingly offbeat comedy Gigantic, gives off a vibe that falls somewhere in the same general territory as Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale), Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums), Dylan Kidd (Roger Dodger) and a number of other young auteurs who read The Catcher in the Rye at a precocious age and grew up with the goal of submitting independent, coming-of-age comedies to the Sundance Film Festival.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Budget-conscious prequel examines the mutant behind the mask

Given the $87 million opening weekend take for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, there can’t be too much worry over in the offices of 20th Century Fox about the future of the X-Men franchise. It remains to be seen whether the same can be said by actual fans of all things Marvelous and mutant-related. After all, if the most popular, most interesting, most storied of the X-Men characters can headline a film that is so ... average, what hope is there for future spin-offs? How exciting would a Cyclops movie be? Can Iceman really hold up an entire movie on his own? Is the world screaming for 90 minutes’ worth of Kitty Pryde walking through walls? Would the Hollywood economy collapse if audiences were subjected to a Dazzler movie? The mind reels.

On the Bubble

Shows in danger of cancellation

The major networks are just weeks away from announcing their new fall schedules. Some shows are guaranteed slots. (“The Bachelor,” we’ll be seeing you again. Sadly.) Others are definitely canceled. (Why, “Pushing Daisies,” why?) Yet to determine their fates are a number of shows who remain on the bubble between cancellation and renewal. Fans, start your online petitions now!

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Recession Gardens: Spreading Like Weeds

The media has been having a field day with the idea that gardening can be a hedge against the weak economy. “As American families try to stretch their food budgets during the recession, some are turning to the backyard, rather than the grocery store ...” says CNN. Or “Step one in the battle against soaring food prices,” Salon agrees. “Start your own recession garden.”

Alibi V.18 No.18 • April 30-May 6, 2009

Cement Déjà Vu

Neighbors face increased pollution from a cement transfer station—again

One narrow street and a tall wall is all that separates Perry Key’s North Valley house from a cement transfer station.

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The Sweetheart Deal

How the South Valley is giving capitalism a good name

Tony Gallegos has a solid build. He’s a former wrestler with a vague resemblance to a 50-something Erik Estrada. His mind is in constant motion, making connections and synthesizing disparate information, and his mouth is rarely far behind. All the while, the wrestler in him stays on alert for leverage points on which to pivot the game to his advantage. And the game won’t be over, as far as he’s concerned, until his beloved South Valley is on an even playing field.

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Answer Me This

What is New Mexico doing to prepare for swine flue? What act of animal cruelty was a man charged with? Which public official is heading to Iraq? And big news in Lobo Land.

Home at Last

Muñecas Muertas skate their way to victory in season opener

The score was tight. With three minutes of play left, the board read 75-69. The jammers lined up, elbow-to-elbow: Muñecas Muertas' stalwart Kamikaze Kim and the San Diego Wildfires' Ivanna S. Pankin.

Former Alibi Staffer Wins a Pulitzer

From the party floor to the top of journalism’s heap

When I first met Angie Drobnic she used to sleep off benders atop a dirt- and booze-encrusted carpet in a tiny newsroom on Wellesley.

Tempest in a Tea Cup

Willie Sutton, the famous bank robber and antiestablishment hero of the ’30s, was asked why he chose to rob banks. Mr. Sutton was amazed at the question. “Well,” he answered after scratching his head, “because that’s where the money is.”

Odds & Ends

Dateline: England—A woman who was issued an Anti-Social Behaviour Order banning her from engaging in high-decibel lovemaking with her husband was arrested by police for breaking the order—just two days after it was issued.

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EarWin VII

An interview with the Alibi's seventh Earwig playlist winner

Screen name: madspammer

Real name: Sean Graham

Flyer on the Wall

Titan of local rock Unit 7 Drain bowed out for the better part of a year to procreate and pursue other projects. Now it’s back with another album (No. 8) in the hole. U7D births DEATH and blows out the candles on a decade of post-wave at the Launchpad on Friday, May 1. The Hopefuls will reunite, The Oktober People will forward on and Leeches of Lore will lift off at 10 p.m. $5 gets you in the door with a CD. 21+. (Laura Marrich)

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Reel World

This coming weekend, Alibi Midnight Movie Madness will sponsor a three-day film festival at Guild Cinema in Nob Hill. Revenge of the Worst Film Festival Ever will feature 11 of the most hilariously inept films ever stuck on a movie projector. The second (semi-)annual festival will feature awful science fiction, terrible horror, pitiful jungle action and even a notorious all-midget Western—handpicked from the pop cultural trash piles of the ’50s through the ’80s.

Cranked Up

An interview with writer/director Mark Neveldine

In Hollywood, even the humble ampersand is elevated to an exalted position. When it comes to movie credits, the word “and” is used to indicate two people who had very little to do with one another. If, for example, a screenplay is written by “John Somebody and Jane Something,” then John and Jane probably wrote two separate screenplays that were glued together by the studio. If, on the other hand, there’s an ampersand linking their names, that means the two worked together. Ampersands are relatively rare in Hollywood, indicating closely linked teams like Joel & Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men), Harry Elfont & Deborah Kaplan (Can’t Hardly Wait), Andy & Larry Wachowski (The Matrix) and, uh, Rocky Morton & Annabel Jankel (Super Mario Bros., anyone?).

Battle for Terra

War is bad, m’kay?

Everybody’s piling onto the CGI cartoon bandwagon. But for every WALL•E, there are 10 Delgos. Sailing firmly into the latter category is the ambitious but underwhelming sci-fi toon Battle for Terra. Directed by Aristomenis Tsirbas (visual effects supervisor on the 1999 remake of My Favorite Martian) and written by Evan Spiliotopoulos (The Lion King 1 1/2, Pooh’s Heffalump Movie, The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning and several other cheap Disney direct-to-DVD sequels), the film is at the very least a step forward for Greek-Canadian filmmakers.

I Am Iron Kid!

“Iron Man: Armored Adventures” on Nicktoons

If you ignore everything that’s awful about “Iron Man: Armored Adventures,” it’s pretty good. Honest.

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Gallery Box

Bright Rain Gallery calls Old Town its home, but the gallery owners' mission is to infuse the area's tradition with edgy and interesting beauty from local artists. Married couple Travis and Molly Black opened Bright Rain Gallery in November 2007, and the space features contemporary, Southwestern and Modern Art.

May Day, May Day

Erect those maypoles, kids; it's May Day! For the Celts (shout-out to my forebears), it was the occasion of Beltane, the beginning of summer. One ritual involved the passing around of Beltane cakes, one piece of which would be blackened. The recipient of this unlucky piece would be mock executed. Kind of like waterboarding.

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Hurley’s

Get a little Irish in you

American misconceptions of Irish cuisine thrive like clover in the meadow. In our minds, the island’s entire culinary history revolves around four food groups: potatoes, corned beef, cabbage and Guinness. Yet there’s so much more to the story.

Nuptial Nookies

Trumpets, please! One of us is getting (ahem) married. Stare at our boutonnieres and cue the cherubs!