Alibi V.18 No.41 • Oct 8-14, 2009

Best of Burque Restaurants 2009

Welcome back to Best of Burque Restaurants! Inside, you'll discover nearly 100 lip-smacking categories of the best food in Albuquerque, selected through thousands of votes cast by Alibi readers. Why do we roll out such a smorgasbord of a poll every year? Well, for one, your Best of Burque votes reward local businesses with hard-earned recognition. And as long as you keep eating and voting, we'll be able to amass these indispensable guides to the best food our city has to offer. To see addresses, hours and other searchable information about the winning restaurants, just start on clicking names. Bon appétit!

Gus Pedrotty’s Alibi interview [Video]

Gus Pedrotty—Gus, as he likes to be known—stopped by Alibi Headquarters to discuss a bid for mayor that began as idealistic—and some would say unlikely—but has since been transformed into one of the more vital and remarkable candidacies that have passed through this high desert city in ages.

Eric Williams

Alibi Celebrates Pride

Guests of the N.M. Pride Celebration join Weekly Alibi to party

We would like to thank everyone who visited our booth at the Albuquerque Pride Celebration and the wonderful folx running the beautiful event.

feature

Around the World

Great prices and lunch specials, spitfire service, and some of the best potatoes in town make Olympia Café your top pick for Grecian delights. Olympia started dishing up piping-hot homestyle fare in 1972, and it’s been a University-area favorite ever since. (MD)

A.M.

It's easy to find a place that serves toast and coffee in the morning, but true breakfast havens are treasured commodities in this city. Weck's prides itself on its "scratch-made" buttermilk pancakes, chile-doused papas and "full belly" meals that will not only keep you sated all day but will bring you back with the sunrise. Plus, it has gluten-free options. (CC)

P.M.

Hey, guess what? Relish’s Uptown store is now open for dinner. Think about how much you love Relish’s sandwiches—how its chefs knead out creamy globes of mozzarella fresh each day, how they take time to hand-crank black pepper onto each sliced-to-order tomato. Now imagine the care and attention they lavish on every step of assembling your beloved, award-winning sandwich and what kind of magic they could work on a meal like dinner. Now go get the car keys, because your fantasy is a short trip away from becoming a reality. (LM)

No Bones About It

While there are still some out there who have yet to be converted to Team Tofu, there are plenty of us who have, and we know a perfectly done piece of tofu is a magical thing. At Fei’s, everything is vegan, so tofu isn’t the poor stepsister of meat dishes; it’s frikkin’ Cinderella. (EAH)

State Treasures

If massive portions, killer Margaritas and a bustling atmosphere are the criteria for best New Mexican restuarant in Albuquerque, Sadie's is as down-home Land of Enchantment as you can get. Plus, there’s the salsa. Oh, the salsa. Don't be a tourist—get the hot variety. (MD)

Gluttony

Folks, it's an all-you-can eat Brazilian meat restaurant. If you're not loosening your top button, you're doing it wrong. In fact, loosen your fly a little bit, too, and wave another one of those skewer-wielding waiters over your way. There may be another meat there you haven't consumed. (DOL)

The Sweet Stuff

Dessert? Um, yes, please. We'll have the éclair. No, wait, warm raspberry-peach pie à la mode. No. A slice of the fruit tart. Actually, make that bread pudding. Wait—we've got it! Tiramisu. ... Or how about we just get all of the above? You don't need us to tell you Flying Star is the best place for desserts; you already know. (CC)

Best of the Rest

It's the atmosphere at El Pinto that will really charm your visitors. If they love the food as much as the lovely restaurant—open since 1962—they can take the perfect salsa, roasted green chile and red chile sauce back home with them in jars. (MD)

food

A Classic Equation

Homemade ketchup and an honest burger

It's a well-worn American story: ketchup meets burger. But this version is better. The stars of the show are beyond homemade—they're dirt-made, from the ground up: handmade ketchup from homegrown tomatoes, served on ground beef raised by good friends. It's a story about the potential of simple pleasures, carefully crafted—and how the history layered into food adds complexity and flavor, creating a terroir to rival the finest wine. It's a drama you could re-enact at home with a little legwork, and if enough people did, we could put McDonald’s out of business.

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Thin Line

We sweat. We toiled. We tried to frame questions so mayoral candidates would give us something other than the polished nuggets espoused on their websites. But if this election cycle had one theme for me, it's this: The sound bites win again.

"Broad" Support?

Here’s the problem with the idea of deploying broadband to “everyone,” be it Albuquerque or Pie Town: It gets policy-makers loopy. The holiest of postmodern grails, broadband for all has produced all manner of magic carpet ride promises in recent years. And some serious meltdowns. But the pull of broadband—and all its related economic and social theories—is just too juicy to resist.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: New York—In August, ultra-dissatisfied customer Dalton Chiscolm sued the largest U.S. bank, demanding “1,784 billion, trillion dollars” for poor customer service. He also asked for an additional $200,165,000 in punitive damages, according to court papers. Last Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin called Chiscolm’s lawsuit against Bank of America “incomprehensible” in Manhattan Federal Court. “He seems to be complaining that he placed a series of calls to the bank in New York and received inconsistent information from a ‘Spanish woman,’ ” the judge wrote. Chiscolm’s unusual monetary demand is larger than a sextillion dollars, or a 1 followed by 21 zeros. The sum far exceeds the world’s 2008 gross domestic product of $60 trillion, as estimated by the World Bank. “These are the kind of numbers you deal with only on a cosmic scale,” Sylvain Cappell, New York University’s Silver Professor at the Courant Institute for Mathematical Science, told New York’s Daily News. “If he thinks Bank of America has branches on every planet in the cosmos, then it might start to make some sense.” Judge Chin gave Chiscolm until Oct. 23 to better explain the basis for his claims or else see his complaint dismissed.

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Reel World

The final weekend of Two Worlds: A Program of Native American & Indigenous Film, Theater, Dance & Photography wraps up at the VSA N4th Theater & Gallery (4904 Fourth Street NW) with the premiere of the short film “Indios Primeros.” The film will screen Friday and Saturday, Oct. 9 and 10, beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 general admission. “Indios Primeros” is emerging screenwriter Roberto A. Jackson’s tale of a good-hearted Native American ne’er-do-well, who—in a spontaneous act of courage—assists an illegal Mexican immigrant family. Jackson’s screenplay was selected from among 24 submitted to be shot here in New Mexico as part of this year’s Two Worlds exhibition. Jackson’s recently completed film will be accompanied by a program of short films by other Native American moviemakers. For more information about other Two Worlds events, log on to vsartsnm.org.

Expanding the Niche

The seventh annual Southwest Gay & Lesbian Film Festival

With less than a week to go before opening night, festival director and programmer for the Southwest Gay & Lesbian Film Festival Roberto Appicciafoco admits it’s “a little nerve-wracking” waiting for the numerous film prints to arrive, scheduling travel for special guests and organizing a host of parties—one in a venue so new it has yet to get its flooring laid. Nonetheless, the 2009 SWGLFF is off to an impressive start.

Zombieland

Who doesn’t find exploding brains hilarious?

For whatever reason, we live in zombified times. From movies (Dead Snow) to video games (Left 4 Dead) to novels (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), the living dead are running rampant through 2009’s pop-cultural landscape. Fortunately, there’s still life in the old genre, as evidenced by the hit new horror comedy Zombieland.

“The Beautiful Life: RIP”

We have a winner!

Now is right about the time we might start discussing our fall TV season deadpool. Based on what we’ve seen so far, which of the new shows will be the first to get the cancellation ax? Unfortunately, The CW beat us to our little game by hacking “The Beautiful Life: TBL” from its Thursday night schedule after only two airings. Only NBC’s 2006 Internet drama “quarterlife” and ABC’s 2006 sitcom “Emily’s Reasons Why Not” fared worse, lasting only a single prime time airing.

music

Rock Reads

Everything anyone ever wanted to know about Merge Records and more lies inside this nearly 300-page congratulatory volume. Twenty years after its creation by Superchunk's Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan, the North Carolina label celebrates its triumph over recording industry standards—and rightly so—with photos, first-person accounts and a compilation CD (which, strangely, neglects the early days).

New Model Army

Punk rock and poetry in motion

These days, a real punk band can almost never find its way onto the pop charts. But back in the day (see: mid-’80s), England’s New Model Army released political punk that didn’t merely sell to left-wing extremists. Almost 30 years ago, frontman/mastermind Justin Sullivan, who has been compared to punk legends like Joe Strummer and Dick Lucas, named NMA after Oliver Cromwell’s successful (at least for a while) 17th-century British anti-royalist forces. Sullivan’s intelligent, informed and captivating songwriting helped the group get signed by EMI—who the Sex Pistols swindled in the ’70s—and embark on a dozen British Top 30 singles before descending (or ascending, depending your worldview) to the worldwide cult status NMA holds today. The Alibi caught up with Sullivan just before the start of New Model Army’s North American tour, which hits the Launchpad this weekend.

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Culture Shock

The brutal 1998 murder of college student Matthew Shepard just outside Laramie, Wyo., had repercussions far beyond the tragic loss of one young man; it became a clarion call for action to recognize and stop hate crimes against LGBT people across the country.

Dramatic Education

The Land Beyond the Forest: Dracula and SWOOP

The Carlisle Performance Space at UNM looks as if the total contents of the theater department—costumes, sets, actors and all—were dropped inside and tossed about by the West Mesa winds.

Ars Poetica

Poet and new UNM prof Dana Levin talks teaching

For 11 years, poet Dana Levin taught creative writing at the College of Santa Fe. Though CSF has managed to come back to life in an altered form after its near-total collapse, Levin has moved on. She is now the new Russo Chair of creative writing at UNM. Levin's first book, In the Surgical Theatre, won the 1999 APR/Honickman First Book Prize, among many others. She is also the author of Wedding Day. Her third book, Sky Burial, is slated for a 2011 release from Copper Canyon Press.

Alibi V.18 No.40 • Oct 1-7, 2009

David Binney

Painting new sounds on a moving canvas

The back and one inside panel of alto saxophonist David Binney’s latest recording, Third Occasion, are adorned with an artfully arranged collection of Binney photographs taken at a wide variety of places and times. Sweeping landscapes, eccentrically cropped portraits, still lifes—each reveals a painterly sensibility, with a sure sense of line, color and form. Taken as a whole, each collection offers an engagingly episodic journey through a life rich in experience, undertaken with an open, visceral connection to the mysteries and delights of being.

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Online Election Guide

Who should be mayor? Who will represent you on the City Council? Everything you need to know for the Oct. 6 municipal election all in once place.

Balloon Fiesta Guide

What to do and where to go in Albuquerque

Every October, our streets flood with visitors while the skies swell with nylon orbs fueled by fire. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the largest hot-air balloon festival in the world. And while Fiesta activities are plentiful Oct. 3 through 11, there’s still ample time for exploring our fair city. To make sure you get the most out of your Southwest visit, the Alibi has interspersed this year's Balloon Fiesta schedule with other events you may want to add to your lineup. To narrow it down, we've chosen winners of this year's Best of Burque poll, the Alibi’s annual survey that asks readers about the best arts, shopping and nightlife Albuquerque has to offer. Also included are a few other events we just didn't think you should miss.

To find out about park-and-rides and other balloon-based information, visit the Fiesta's official website at balloonfiesta.com.

Saturday, Oct. 3

5 a.m. While driving to Balloon Fiesta Park for the Dawn Patrol Show, flip on what Alibi readers voted as Best Local Radio Program, the University of New Mexico-run station KUNM 89.9 FM. (kunm.org)

Monday, Oct. 5

* 5:45 to 6:45 a.m. Dawn Patrol
* 7 to 10 a.m. Flying Competition: Balloon Fiesta Hold ’Em presented by Sandia Resort & Casino

10:30 a.m. Burn off a few breakfast calories at Defined Fitness (voted Best Fitness Facility), which brags pools, massive weight rooms, state-of-the-art aerobic equipment and a loaded schedule of classes. If you don't have a membership, it only costs $10 for a day pass with a valid photo ID. (Multiple locations, defined.com)

Tuesday, Oct. 6

* 5:45 to 6:45 a.m. Dawn Patrol
* 7 to 10 a.m. Flying Competition: Balloon Fiesta Hold ’Em presented by Sandia Resort & Casino

Thursday, Oct. 8

* 5:45 to 6:45 a.m. Dawn Patrol
* 7 to 8 a.m. Special Shape Rodeo™
* 7 to 10 a.m. Flying Competition & Prize Grab

Friday, Oct. 9

* 5:45 to 6:45 a.m. Dawn Patrol
* 7 to 8 a.m. Special Shape Rodeo™
* 7 to 10 a.m. Key Grab Competition
* 8 to 9 a.m. Chainsaw Wood Carving Contest (north end of launch field)
* 4 to 5 p.m. Chainsaw Wood Carving Contest (north end of launch field)

In Case of Emergency

Whether you need the number for the nearest hospital or you just want to find out where to get a map of the city, call Albuquerque’s Citizen Contact Center at 311 and get all your questions answered for free. Plus, the customer service representatives are seriously friendly.

For All the Best Restaurants

The Alibi’s massive Best of Burque Restaurants poll hits stands Thursday, Oct. 8. Pick it up to see what our readers say is their favorite fare in Albuquerque.

art

Culture Shock

Do you love comics? Do you adore trucker speed? Well, then, 24 Hour Comics Day is your cup of Mountain Dew. Every year, artists of all abilities gather for 86,400 seconds to create 24 comic book pages. The event takes place all around the world, and the only Albuquerque location is at Harwood Art Center (1114 Seventh Street NW), brought to you by 7000 BC, which promotes indie New Mexican comics. The sketching goes from noon to noon, Saturday, Oct. 3, through Sunday, Oct. 4. Participation is free and open to all ages, though kids better clear it with their parents, even if it's not a school night. To sign up, go to 24hourcomics.com, 7000bc.org or call Jeff at 262-2952.

The Art of Rescue

Watermelon Ranch’s Furball 2009

It all started as one couple's dream: a scenic 10-acre ranch with lots of fresh air and a little cottage. For dogs. And cats. And then the couple got a few more cottages, a few more animals, and a little place called the Watermelon Mountain Ranch no-kill animal shelter was born.

Get Drunk

Rascals, Scoundrels & Sitch

Though artist Evan Dent is new to Albuquerque, he's clear on what works in this town: hand-painted signs on businesses and "killer" food.

news

The Hail Mary Pass

Citizens without backing or big money run for political office

At the start of election season, it seemed like Mayor Martin Chavez had it on lockdown. Albuquerque lazily climbs into the sack with an incumbent, goes the thinking. Most people will check the box next to that old familiar name. But a 406-person poll released Sunday, Sept. 27, shows conservative Rep. R.J. Berry in the lead with 31 percent, followed by Chavez at 26 percent and Richard Romero at 24 percent. The survey was conducted by Brian Sanderoff’s Research & Polling, Inc. for the Albuquerque Journal. The next mayor has to snag 40 percent of the vote or we'll be facing a runoff. Which leaves us with the question: Could the Tuesday, Oct. 6 election really be anyone's race?

Grab the Power

Last-minute Election Day voting info

In political circles, people used to always talk about voting as a civic responsibility. That’s fine. Democracy will crumble (has crumbled?) without an engaged citizenry. But the conversation about voting has changed somewhat in the 21st century. People don’t talk about duty so much anymore. These days the message is usually about power. As in, use it or lose it, baby.

Permission to Speak Freely

When the Alibi was born 17 years ago, it wasn't called the Alibi. It was called NuCity. Its first issue gingerly appeared on the Albuquerque scene on Oct. 9, 1992, a Friday, with a whole 12 pages. That magnificent dozen was created with a Powerbook 140 and Macintosh SE, with the help of a rented laser printer.

Is Sandia Peak Tramway the World’s Longest?

We’ve all seen the signs.

Whether in TV ads, on billboards or in magazines, one of Albuquerque’s claims to fame is the Sandia Peak Tramway. The twin red and blue cars make their way up the cables to the top of the mountain where tourists, skiers and diners can find magnificent views and a 20-degree temperature drop.

As the Sandia Peak website states, “A trip on the world’s longest aerial tramway transports you above deep canyons and breathtaking terrain a distance of 2.7 miles.” The tram moves at about 12 miles per hour, carrying more than a quarter million people each year. It was completed in 1966, constructed by a Swiss firm for about $2 million. There are four steel cables, each of which is about an inch and a half in diameter, carrying passengers to 10,378 feet.

The Teachers’ Story

Genuine change in our school systems can’t happen until we get honest about education’s ugliest secret: “Dropouts” are actually push-outs, force outs and most teachers and principals have no interest bringing them back in.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: England—A Jedi Church elder (well, he’s 23) is considering bringing legal action against the U.K. supermarket chain Tesco on the basis of religious discrimination. Daniel Jones from Holyhead in North Wales claims the Tesco store in Bangor victimized his beliefs when it asked him to remove his hood for security reason. Jones, who founded the International Church of Jediism, told the Daily Post, “It states in our Jedi doctrine that I can wear headwear.” Jones went on to clarify the Star Wars philosophy on head covering: “You have the choice of wearing headwear in your home or at work, but you have to wear a cover for your head when you are in public.” Jones, who works in Bangor, had gone to the store to buy something to eat during his lunch break. Jones, who was wearing his traditional Jedi robes at the time, was told by store employees to take his hood off or leave. “They said, ‘Take it off,’ and I said, ‘No, its part of my religion. It’s part of my religious right.’ I gave them a Jedi Church business card,” Jones explained. A Tesco spokesperson responded to Jones’ complaint and schooled him on nerd trivia as well, saying, “Jedis are very welcome in our stores, although we would ask them to remove their hoods. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker all appeared hoodless without ever going over to the Dark Side, and we are only aware of the Emperor as one who never removed his hood.”

Warehouse 508 is Finally Here

The project started as Mayor Martin Chavez’ response to the argument that there isn’t a lot for teens to do in Albuquerque. That point was raised repeatedly as the mayor put the hurt on all-ages shows happening in venues where alcohol was served—often in separate rooms or gated areas—to people over 21.

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Reel World

Beginning Thursday, Oct. 1, the National Hispanic Cultural Center will begin a monthlong series of contemporary films from Latin America. The fourth annual Cine en Construcción series kicks off with the Mexican film Fuera del Cielo about a group of people, including a recently freed convict, who get involved in a robbery. The series continues on Oct. 15 with the Uruguayan film Alma Mater about a lonely supermarket checkout girl whose life is shaken up by a charismatic transvestite. Oct. 22 brings the Argentine film Extraño, which focuses on the delicate relationship between an ex-surgeon and a young pregnant woman. The series wraps up on Oct. 29, with the Argentine film La Demolición, in which a demolition worker befriends a delusional woman living in an abandoned factory. All films are in Spanish with English subtitles. Shows begin at 7 p.m. in the NHCC’s Bank of America Theater (1701 Fourth Street SW). Cine in Construcción is free and open to the public. For more details, log on to nhccnm.org.

Return of the B Movie

An interview with Full Moon founder Charles Band

To a certain percentage of the population—those who grew up in the dawning Home Video Age of the ’80s—the name Full Moon Entertainment still holds a certain nostalgic resonance. Founded by writer/director/producer Charles Band after the collapse of his small-scale theatrical studio Empire Pictures, Full Moon was created with the sole purpose of stocking America’s burgeoning video stores with slick-looking, low-budget horror, sci-fi and fantasy films. Thanks to popular series like Subspecies (four films), Trancers (six films) and Puppet Master (nine films) and successful one-offs like Meridian, Robot Jox and Oblivion, Full Moon was a staple of the direct-to-video realm for decades.

Bright Star

To paraphrase Mr. Keats’ most famous line: A thing of beauty is a joy for fans of “Masterpiece Theatre”

Jane Campion—writer and director of The Piano—is in familiar territory with Bright Star, a lush, intimate, swoon-inducing biopic about the doomed romance between 19th century English poet John Keats and his little-known personal muse, Fanny Brawne. Viewers are apt to find themselves in familiar territory as well, because even if you don’t know your literary history, you can rest reasonably assured knowing where this true-life Romeo and Juliet tale is headed.

Bed Time

“The Jay Leno Show” on NBC

When “The Jay Leno Show” premiered in primetime several weeks ago, eating up roughly a third of NBC’s primetime lineup, it was generally agreed that the network was making a calculated gamble. Even if the show failed to live up to expectations, it would be markedly cheaper than producing five hour-long dramas for the same time slot. Still, most onlookers were vocally dismayed over the similarity between “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and “The Jay Leno Show.” All the signature bits—from Jaywalking to Headlines—were there. Kevin Eubanks was on the sidelines joshing along from behind his guitar. The monologues featured the same mixture of light political humor and Octomom references. The celebrity interviews were typical, slow-pitch affairs. About the only notable difference was the loss of Leno’s desk.

music

Flyer on the Wall

Shoulder Voices (Albuquerque), Mark Mallman (Jupiter?) and Monarch Box (Austin) teach advanced facial aerobics on Monday, Oct. 5, at Burt’s Tiki Lounge (21+, free, 313 Gold SW). (Laura Marrich)

food

Veggie Trader

Like Craigslist for backyard produce, veggietrader.com could become a nexus for locavores everywhere

You find each other online. After a brief exchange of messages, you agree it’s a good match and arrange to meet in person to do the deed.

Alibi V.18 No.39 • Sept 24-30, 2009

Alibi Election Guide

More Cash Means Fewer Clunkers—This year's election cycle offers a couple of exciting candidates, some so-so contenders and one or two duds. Over the past few weeks the Alibi sat down with those running for mayor and those vying for the odd-numbered City Council seats. The reaction from us was mostly: Meh.

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Election Day is Tuesday, Oct. 6

You have to bring a photo ID to the polls now. That means your passport, government badge, driver’s license, student ID, union card or basically anything that has both your picture and name and is official in some capacity. For a complete list, go to Common Cause New Mexico’s election protection website, counteveryvotenm.org.

Print-n-Save Voters Guide

Print out this handy reminder and take it with you to the polls (click on the “print” button above for a printer-friendly version). Disagree with the endorsements? Cross out ours and write in yours.

Candidate Questionnaires

In addition to sitting down with candidates to interview them face-to-face, the Alibi also sent all the contenders questionnaires. Click on the names below to read their responses. Check back for more that roll in.

Mayor

The Alibi endorses: Richard Romero

Mayor Martin Chavez is really good at a few things. And he’ll never let you forget it.

Chavez has been mayor of Albuquerque for 12 years, from 1993 to 1997, and later for two consecutive terms beginning in 2001. In the past, Albuquerque mayors were only allowed to serve two terms back to back. But Chavez sued the city early last year to have the term limit for the office removed—after he withdrew from the race for U.S. Senate—and he was successful.

Candidate Q&A

Position sought: Mayor

Age: 53

Occupation: Disabled; PT Executive director and case-manager for homeless and at-risk youth and young adults

Candidate Q&A

Age: 52

Occupation: Certified Financial Planner

Political Experience: Chairman of the Albuquerque Police Oversight Committee, Vice-President of Candlemen Neighborhood Association, Secretary of District 7’s Coalition of Neighborhood Associations.

District: 7

1) What's your plan of action for three major issues in your district?

Candidate Q&A

Age: 47

Occupation: Attorney Private Practice; Family Law and Bankruptcy

Political Experience: City Councilor, still in my first term. I was a Special Assistant Attorney General for several years, then an Assistant City Attorney for approximately two years with the City of Albuquerque.

District: 9

Candidate Q&A

Age: 42

Occupation: Baker, Baking Consultant, Writer

Political Experience: Election poll worker; president, election poll location; worker, absentee count, city special election; registration of voters; worker, on campaigns of political candidates; executive officer, student association; president, racing oriented bicycle club.

District: 7

Candidate Q&A

Occupation: Retired Educator

Over 35 years, I have built a career of public service—as an Air Force veteran, teacher, principal, Assistant Superintendent of APS and as a leader of the state Senate. 

Candidate Q&A

1) What's your plan of action for three major citywide issues? 

Public Safety: Increase the Albuquerque Police Department by 100 officers in 18 months, push our lawmakers for tougher penalties for repeat offenders and expand community policing and neighborhood watch programs. Forge new partnerships with our schools.

District 1: Southern Portion of the Westside

Unopposed incumbent: Ken Sanchez

Ken Sanchez is running for re-election this year without a challenger. Sanchez knows the issues of his Southwest district well. Gangs flourish in the area, and property crime numbers are up. Houses were built, but retail wasn't. Extra fees and taxes have been paid into city coffers for years, but infrastructure is lacking. The roadways are bizarre in the area, and the passages across the Rio Grande are often clogged.

Candidate Q&A

Age: 53

Occupation: Vice President Gilbert Sanchez Tax & Accounting Service and Enrolled Agent to Practice before the Internal Revenue Service. President of Ken Sanchez & Associates Realty. Affiliate with Prudential Financial.

District 3: Downtown, Parts of the South Valley

The Alibi endorses: Isaac Benton

You can't ask for a better councilor than Isaac Benton. Early in his first term, he was faced with the immediate problem of flooding in Barelas and the Santa Barbara / Martineztown area. Benton says the flooding wasn't a top priority of Mayor Martin Chavez' administration at first. He passed a bill through the Council that forced it to the top of Chavez' to-do list. Benton's efforts resulted in new storm drainage retention ponds in those neighborhoods that reduce the chance of future floods.

District 5: Northern Portion of the Westside

The Alibi endorses: Michael Cadigan

Dan Lewis wants Michael Cadigan's job, and his campaigning fueled perhaps the ugliest Council race this season. Unfortunately, Cadigan was a topic Lewis couldn't let lie during his endorsement interview with the Alibi. The pastor and small-business owner called the councilor ineffective and demeaning, said he was too hostile to the city administration, and declared him “combative.” And that was just the first five minutes.

District 7: Uptown

The Alibi endorses: no one

What a horrible thing to not endorse any candidates, especially when we started out with three hopefuls. But here's how the District 7 race has gone down: Two months ago, incumbent Sally Mayer was running for re-election against challengers David Green and Mike Cook. David Green failed to turn in his Declaration of Candidacy to the City Clerk's Office in time. His name will be absent from the ballot, although he's still running as a write-in candidate. Green doesn't appear to have a campaign website, so all we can tell you about him is this: He's a baker and this is his first time running for public office.

District 9: Southeast Heights

The Alibi endorses: Don Harris

In his first term, Don Harris did a lot of good for people in his district who aren't the noisiest or most powerful. His predecessors "kissed the ring of Four Hills," as Harris puts it, and didn't do much else. Keeping Four Hills happy might be all it takes to secure a Council seat in District 9, but Harris tackled more.

Bonds

The Alibi endorses all bonds proposed on the ballot. This year, all bonds are General Obligation (GO). Bonds are debt the city incurs for capital improvement projects. When a city takes out a bond, it promises to pay the balance back in full with interest. None of these bonds will increase property taxes. Here's what you're being asked to vote for.

Propositions

In 2008, the City Council passed an ordinance to review the city charter. From that review, the Council presented 10 recommendations to the mayor that would amend the charter. The mayor vetoed all the amendments, but the Council overrode his veto in August. The result is that the voting public now gets to decide on the amendments individually in this election. Here's what they are:

Transportation Infrastructure Gross Receipts Tax

It would be crazy not to vote for this tax. The money from this tax goes directly to road maintenance, public transit, trails and bike paths. And we’re talking about 25 cents for every $100 spent. It’s been in place since 2000 and is set to expire at the end of this year. And just to set citizens’ minds further at ease, this gem of a sentence was added: “No portion of the revenue generated by the transportation infrastructure gross receipts tax shall be used to build or operate any rail transportation system until such a system is approved at a separate election by the voters.” Got it? No light-rail. No modern streetcar. No trolley. Well, they won’t be funded by this tax, anyway—not unless in some future election you call for them.

food

Casa de Benavidez

A taste of “old" Placitas in the North Valley

I first learned about Casa de Benavidez from an old hippie in Placitas. His eyes glazed dreamily as he described a North Valley restaurant that serves “Placitas-style” New Mexican food. Rita Benavidez, the owner, grew up near the old hippie’s commune. When I asked him if he’d join me for dinner, he said, “Just give me enough advance notice. I’ll need to shave.”

Bite

We're nearing the end of the stone fruit season (apricots, peaches, nectarines and the like), and tomatoes are really rocking, so why not throw them together? Just like throwing a little salt on your dessert, these two fruits offer flavors and textures that complement and contrast each other; both are acidic, both are (or should be) sweet and both have a lusty, oozy nature that prompts slurping and licking. It was only a matter of time before they ended up on the cutting board together. Are peach soups and tomato cobblers in the not-so-distant future?

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Riding to Remember

Memorial honors the 100 New Mexico bicyclists killed by vehicles in the last two decades

Sunday, Sept. 20, was the perfect day for a ride—temperate weather, no wind and the rain clouds hovered over the distant southwest valley. Two-hundred bicyclists gathered in a parking lot at the corner of Jefferson and Copper.

Got a Light?

More sunshine is the key to illuminating shadowy government shenanigans. Councilors delayed but did not kill a proposal to shine a beam on the city’s financial business. Councilor Rey Garduño asked for expedited approval of his transparency bill at the Monday, Sept. 21 Council meeting. Some councilors agreed with Garduño, saying there was no reason to wait and they should just “get it done.” Councilor Trudy Jones and the city’s administration reminded everyone they're required to have a fiscal impact report ready for inspection when the bill comes up for approval. Garduño’s measure did not have a fiscal impact report attached yet.

Bikes and Bruises

Cyclists say roads aren't safe for two-wheeled travelers

Larry Kepley was peddling south on Tramway near Spain.

As he approached the right turn lane, Kepley suddenly lost control of his bike, flying over the handlebars and landing on his shoulder, hip and face. He walked away with a bad bruise that didn't require any major medical attention. Though the accident happened last year, he still remembers how he felt when he landed. "I was pissed off," he says. "It was as if someone had reached underneath me and pulled the bike from under me."

Kepley says the cause of his crash was uneven paving on Tramway, which created a ridge in the road that sent him sprawling. Diane Albert, president of the Bicycle Coalition of New Mexico, says stories like Kepley's are all too common. She says the state Department of Transportation (DOT) must do a better job of keeping roads suitable for cyclists. "These types of crashes dissuade people from biking because they perceive it to be unsafe," Albert says. "These road conditions are all over the state."

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Nigeria—A housewife has filed for divorce from her husband because he will not stop defecating in the family’s cooking pots. According to the Online Nigeria website, Oluwakemi Ogundele told the Igando Customary Court in Lagos earlier this month that her husband, Oluwafemi, is a violent drunkard. To add insult to injury, Oluwafemi has an unfortunate habit of pooping in cooking pots and on dinner plates when intoxicated. Mrs. Ogundele asked the court to dissolve the marriage because Oluwafemi no longer provides for her or her children and because she does not love him. Oluwafemi denied charges of spousal abuse and crockery defecation, but admitted there is no love left between the couple. The court adjourned the matter until later this month and warned the couple to remain civil with one another in the meantime.

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Reel World

What the heck is “found footage”? Well, in the simplest terms, it’s any film or video footage that someone has—through their vast pop cultural archaeology skills—collected, stumbled across or otherwise unearthed from the trash bin of time. Now, for the first time ever, The Found Footage Film Festival is making a stop in New Mexico. This acclaimed touring showcase of odd and hilarious found clips is curated and hosted (live and in-person) by Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher, whose credits include The Onion, “The Late Show With David Letterman” and “The Colbert Report.” Among those contributing garage sale finds, warehouse excavations and prized dumpster dives are comedians David Cross, David Wain and Kumail Nanjiani. Weird old TV commercials, bizarro PSAs, freaky home movies, indecipherable Saturday morning cartoons and one-of-a-kind exercise videos featuring the likes of Dolph Lundgren, Milton Berle and WWF’s The Bushwhackers are just the tip of the iceberg! The Found Footage Fest rolls into UNM’s Southwest Film Center on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m. for one must-not-miss screening. Check out foundfootagefest.com for more info.

The Right-Brained Sell

Television does it better

There's no chance for single-payer health care, says David Brancaccio. Actually, it was dead in the water early on, and he can pinpoint the moment of its demise. Months ago, the Obama administration said it wasn’t going to do away with insurance companies. “They were too powerful, I think, is what the issue was. At that point, there was no chance."

VideoNasty

The Wanderers (1979)

The Warriors is one of my favorite films of all time. Indeed, Walter Hill’s 1979 gang classic holds such a special place in my cold, darkened heart that my blind affection has led to many a passionate debate (and even a fistfight or two) over its artistic merit as a cult film. You see, we diehard cinephiles tend to wear our cinematic tastes firmly on our sleeves. And when someone dares to trash-talk a film we hold dear ... well, you’d better hold on to your panties, Margaret, because trouble’s a-brewing. No other gang film has ever matched the pure badassery and retro-hipness of The Warriors. But even a jaded refugee of ’70s cinema such as myself has to admit one thing: The Wanderers comes pretty damn close.

Up Yours, King Zarkon!

“Titan Maximum” on Cartoon Network

If you’re a fan of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block, then you’re probably a regular viewer of “Robot Chicken.” Over the seasons, that stop-motion-animated pop-cultural mashup has skewered just about every sacred cow from your childhood (provided your childhood fell sometime between 1970 and 1989). Plenty of people can produce a funny parody of Star Wars (well, not the makers of “Family Guy,” but anyway). It takes a special group of evil nerd geniuses, however, to even remember what the hell the “Shirt Tales” cartoon was about. Creating an amusing skit about it is just the icing on the cake.

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So Juvenile

What to do about teenagers? They ruin your couches, they smell weird and there's lots of hugging. We older folk forget, perhaps intentionally, that we were once also pimply bundles of barely contained hormonal explosions. Maybe instead of locking our car doors when they walk by, we should look at giving them better than we got.