At the Center for Peace and Justice, it’s been a rallying quarter century
By Marisa Demarco
It was more than two decades ago that Lee Sims rolled into Albuquerque to visit a friend she'd met at a peace march. "The day I was here, she took me down to the office and said, ‘Here she is. Use her.’ ”
Crewnewmexico.com is hosting its monthly Film Industry Happy Hour on Thursday, May 28, at O’Niell’s Pub in Nob Hill. Men and women from all levels of the filmmaking industry are invited to a night of networking, meeting-and-greeting and just plain kicking back with a few beer specials. No RSVP is required; simply show up at O’Niell’s between 5 and 9 p.m. O’Niell’s is located at 4310 Central SE.
Arresting Iranian documentary examines the tribulations of troubled teens
By Devin D. O’Leary
The Glass House, a documentary about a one-of-a-kind rehabilitation and education center for at-risk teen girls in Tehran, could easily have gone for the easy uplift of an “Oprah” episode. The elements are there: Founder Marjaneh Halati, an Iranian expat now working as a successful therapist in London, exudes confidence and class and is all but worshipped by her young charges. The girls themselves are a screenwriter’s fantasy—a mix of troubled archetypes with humble dreams, difficult family lives and heartbreaking obstacles. But filmmakers Hamid Rahmanian (director and cameraman) and Melissa Hibbard (writer and producer) have avoided imposing any false uplift or narrative manipulation on the story that unfolds in front of their cameras. The result is an honest, compelling, often frustrating look at real life in modern-day Iran.
Jesse James is a badass. I can tell because he has a lot of tattoos, claims to be related to the Old West outlaw Jesse James, says he stole Scott Hamilton’s car when he was 17, was allegedly a bodyguard for Danzig, builds expensive custom motorcycles, fathered a child with porn star Janine Lindemulder and is now married to Sandra Bullock—all of which sounds like the résumé of a badass. On the other hand, he could just be a total, self-promoting douche bag who got fired off “The Celebrity Apprentice” and is defiling America’s sweetheart on a nightly basis. It’s a fine line, really.
Black Market Goods Gallery is a gallery that’s cultivated roots. Gallery director Josh Jones began a traveling art collective in 2005. Every three months the collective put together a new showing at a new gallery, a purposely nomadic artistic community. When the Stove Gallery on Morningside closed, they offered their space to Black Market Goods first. BMG moved in and opened the doors to their permanent home in February 2009.
The folks over at Blackout Theatre have big hearts, hearts so gargantuan they can't keep all the goodness inside. If you need any evidence, get over to Black Market Goods (112 Morningside NE), where the two entities have teamed up to present The Black Lab Improv Comedy Lab, a night of improv intended to help BMG bring home the bacon and pay the rent. It all takes place on Saturday, May 30, beginning at 8 p.m., and will feature the barely prepared work of The No Good Nicks, Star Ship: Improv for Trekkies, Big Fuzz: Improv with Puppets, A.C.R.O.N.Y.M.- We Stand for Nothing, Starving Horse and No Holds Bard: Shakespearean Improv. Better yet, Tractor Brewing Company will be there to wet your whistle, which you will need, what with all the laughing. It's a 21+, pay-what-you-can show, and we suggest you pay up.
Fear and hoping with the Mother Road Theatre Company
By Erin Adair-Hodges
Life During Wartime opens with a young salesman trying to sell a woman a security system. He touts its features, throws around technical language, but most importantly, uses statistics. Burglary rates, murder rates, rape. The exact numbers are vague, but the message is clear: You are in danger. There’s a whole world to fear.
They’re holding another election on June 2. But the organizers have got to be hoping you won’t go to the polls because they are doing their darnedest to keep it quiet. Yes, it’s time once again for our biennial exercise in stealth democracy, the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District board election.
Dateline: New Zealand—Police are searching for a couple who allegedly cleaned out their bank account and fled the country after receiving an accidental loan of nearly $8 million from their bank. Huan Di Zhang and Hui Gao were mistakenly given $NZ10 million ($7.8 million) after requesting a loan from Westpac Bank for a mere $NZ10,000 ($7,800). The couple had requested the loan to help save a small gas station convenience store they ran in Rotorua. The station was shut down earlier this month after its operator, Heights Service Ltd., went into receivership. Banking Ombudsman Liz Brown told Rotorua’s The Daily Post that technically it was a criminal offense for someone to spend money accidentally deposited into their bank account if they knew the money wasn’t theirs. “The individuals associated with this account are believed to have left New Zealand, and police [are] working through Interpol to locate those individuals,” said Detective Senior Sergeant David Harvey of New Zealand Police.
Indie shoegazers Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk from Lawrence, Kan., may keep it light like hollow avian skeletons on Friday, May 29. (FYI, it’s true. Baby birds don’t consume calcium-based lactation from their mothers. Weighty bones are no good for flying.) Local experimental outfit Yoda’s House and the singer-songwritery Brothers open. Drag your heavy skeletal system, the one that keeps you earthbound, to Winning Coffee Co. (111 Harvard SE) at 7 p.m. $5. (Marisa Demarco)
The sweetest ending to any good meal is, of course, dessert. Sugary confections are food’s natural conclusion, perfectly punctuating simple dinners and extravagant feasts alike. In this vein, for my final review, I chose a place that specializes in sweet teeth.
There's no one way to be a female artist these days, as evidenced by what's going on around town this week. This 21st-century world is our oyster, and oyster may or may not be a metaphor for lady parts and birth; it’s totally up to us.
Judy Chicago’s Belen vs. The Hometown I Narrowly Escaped
By Erin Adair-Hodges
There's a 1971 photo of Judy Chicago taken by Jerry McMillan that shows her dressed like a boxer in a ring. She stands in the corner, her arms crooked back over the ropes, gloved hands dangling. Her chin is thrust forward and her eyes challenge the camera and, presumably, anyone else. Across her shirt is emblazoned in block, gym-class letters, “JUDY CHICAGO.” It's badass.
When I was but an intern reporter at a daily newspaper, I got an assignment I'll never forget. Due to a lack of drainage in the South Valley, even a little bit of precipitation sent rivers of rainwater up to and beyond doorsteps. A big rain for one of my eventual sources meant moving the kids out to the camper to sleep because the water level in his house was higher than the electrical outlets.
Muñecas Muertas jammers spent the better part of 30 minutes behind a brick wall of Rat City blockers. When the buzzer sounded, Burque’s squad was facing a 42-point deficit. Players looked frustrated—but collected.
A report says rising temps will hurt the nation’s moneymaking crops. But can wind save them?
By Christie Chisholm
Americans love corn. This year, our nation planted nearly 85 million acres of it, making it our largest agricultural crop. (The second-largest crop is soybeans, with a little more than 76 million acres planted this year.) That’s according to the USDA. It makes sense that we put so much of it in the ground; sometimes it seems like everything we produce in this country comes with a side of corn.
Dateline: New Zealand—A pregnant woman arrested on her eighth drunk driving offense couldn’t be sentenced because she was too drunk in court. Rachel Brown, 28, registered nearly 2 1/2 times the legal limit on a breath alcohol test when she was arrested last July at a police checkpoint in the North Island city of Rotorua. At the time, she was seven months pregnant. After her arrest, Brown told police she was driving because she was “the least pissed” of the three people in the vehicle. Brown was due in court for sentencing last week but failed to show. A warrant was issued for her arrest, but police spotted Brown near the courthouse and took her back there. Rotorua District Court Judge James Weir held over sentencing, however, when he realized Brown was having trouble standing. Witnesses said she had been drinking wine with friends outside the courthouse. The judge remanded Brown into overnight custody so she could sober up before her sentencing. The next day, Brown was sentenced to at least six months in jail. She has never held a driver’s license and was banned in 2005 from ever getting one. The baby that Brown was pregnant with when she was arrested last year is in the care of a family member.
I just had the good fortune to leave my job as a police reporter in a crime-infested cesspool, in a state affectionately referred to by its residents as “The Buckle on the Bible Belt.”
Normally a high crime rate and the authorities’ penchant for locking everyone up would equate to job security. But the local Powers That Be didn’t approve of my total coverage approach to journalism (John, we need you to stop writing about it every time we shoot someone).
After being diagnosed with several mental illnesses and high cholesterol, I packed my laptops into my Yaris and moved back to Albuquerque to search for any kind of anonymous hack work with which to pay the bills (and smack dab in the middle of a recession—my nervous breakdowns have impeccable timing).
In case you didn’t know, ’70s comedy sensations Cheech and Chong have reunited and are playing the Sandia Casino on Friday, May 22, beginning at 8 p.m. If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet (and they ain’t cheap), you’ll be pleased to note that longtime University area poster shop Louie’s Rock-N-Reels (105 Harvard SE) will be raffling off a pair of tickets to see the big show. The drawing will take place on Thursday, May 21, at 7 p.m. at the store across from UNM campus. Get in there before then to register! ... Of course, if you don’t win the tickets, you can always come to Guild Cinema on Friday and Saturday night to catch Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong in all their cinematic glory. Alibi Midnight Movie Madness will be presenting the duo’s 1978 stoner comedy debut Cheech and Chong’s Up In Smoke beginning at 10:30 p.m. both nights. Super fans are encouraged to attend both the concert and the movie screening. Bring your ticket stubs from the Sandia show, flash them at the Guild box office and you’ll get $2 off the admission price on Friday or Saturday night.
Terminator series gets a reboot up the ass courtesy of McG
By Devin D. O’Leary
Thanks to the success of Batman Begins, Casino Royale, Friday the 13th and Star Trek (plus laziness on the part of consumers and a complete lack of creativity in Hollywood), we are now in the era of the franchise relaunch. Film series that burned out years ago are being resurrected, given a spit shine and shoved back into theaters to the tune of hundreds of millions in box office grosses. It’s only a matter of time (mark my words!) before we are subjected to Back to the Future IV or Weekend at Bernie’s III.
German-by-way-of-Azerbaijani comedy finds whimsy in age-old battle of the sexes
By Devin D. O’Leary
From the evidence at hand, German writer-director Veit Helmer isn’t much at home in his own country, having helmed productions in Bulgaria, Portugal, Japan and Kazakhstan. The globe-hopping filmmaker is best known for his magical 1999 comedy Tuvalu, about romantic entanglements at a broken-down bathhouse in Eastern Europe. Helmer’s newest offering, the tonally similar Absurdistan, finds him back on the international scene—this time in the Eurasian nation of Azerbaijan. The result of this cinematic sojourn is an inordinately enjoyable throwback to ’90s cinema when the foreign/art house environment was filled with films that were cute, charming, exotic and slightly naughty.
Chuck Saves a Buck—ABC has agreed to bring the spy-fi series “Chuck” back next season with one caveat: The budget needs to be slashed. The network will only be producing 13 episodes next season, and the show will have two fewer writers and at least one less cast member to work with. (No word yet on who gets the ax.) Apparently, the penny-pinching is not an unusual request these days. At the same time, ABC opted not to renew the Christina Applegate sitcom “Samantha Who?” for a third season after producers failed to trim around $500,000 (ouch!) from each episode’s budget.
We might be slightly embarrassed to admit it, but there are many of us out there who crank up the volume on the car radio when "Follow You Down" comes on The Peak. Yes, friends, the Blossoms we call Gin are coming to Albuquerque.
After five years in the womb, the little baby has arrived
By Simon McCormack
Sean McCullough says he's sick of listening to his band's new album.
Albuquerque's The Oktober People spent five years writing songs then recording Explore The Sky Too. McCullough produced the album. "I've listened to it so many times that I don't ever want to hear it again," McCullough says with a chuckle. "I'm still really proud of it. I think people will notice that we really just put a lot of time into it."
Singer Nate Santa Maria says the band developed a personal relationship with each track. "I love those songs," he asserts. "They're our little babies."
On Monday, May 25, Burque’s long-worshipped cult of raunchy rock will make its final boobie-jiggling, gravy-covered appearance. Steve Eiland and his demonic Beefcake in Chains will slip and slide all over the Launchpad stage for the last time with The Meatmen, Chapstik and Spin Dry Kittins. The concluding descent into madness starts at 9:30 p.m. 21+ only. Duh. (Laura Marrich)
Trains make some people lonesome, others horny. Me ... well, as a food writer for the Alibi, it shouldn’t be a surprise that trains make me hungry. This is not always a welcome thing. Once, on a train through southern Siberia, I got mugged by Russian mobsters in the dining car.
Sixteen weeks’ worth of popcorn, air conditioning and ... oh, yeah, movies!
By Devin D. O’Leary
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.
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 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.
Easy ways to improve Albuquerque's community cable
By Gene Grant
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.
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.”
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:
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.
Soccer-loving siblings miss the goal in occasionally corny dramedy
By Devin D. O’Leary
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.
Papal murder mystery actually more exciting than decoding Da Vinci’s paintings
By Devin D. O’Leary
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.