Alibi V.19 No.2 • Jan 14-20, 2010

Broken Embraces

Spanish filmmaker gets serious, mysterious

Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar has always worshipped at the altar of the classic Hollywood melodrama. The earthly avatars of Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Douglas Sirk have long watched over his art-house productions (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, High Heels, Kika, The Flower of My Secret, Live Flesh, All About My Mother). His latest effort, the self-referential movie industry meller Broken Embraces, is no exception. ... Except that it marks a minor turning point in Almodóvar’s career. This is Almodóvar at his most mature, his most serious. Gone are the drag queens, the sexy nuns and op-art wallpaper. There’s not a trace of camp in this cyclical, soap opera-heavy romance. And yet the film is still unmistakably Almodóvar, right down to the strong central performance by his longtime muse Penélope Cruz.

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Long Live the Revolution

The 10th annual Revolutions International Theatre Festival

The mark of brilliance may just be that it stays with you. It affects the way you think about something or, perhaps, the way you look at everything. You contemplate it after you’ve engaged with it. Your future actions and interactions are, in some regard, altered by having experienced it. As it so happens, this is also the mark of revolution. Coincidence? Certainly not in the case of the Revolutions International Theatre Festival.

Week One

If you want to see probable greatness, you should probably see Pollock. Joe Peracchio, founding artistic director of Tricklock Company and Revolutions, stars in this one-man show inspired by the frenetic genius of artist Jackson Pollock. Written by David D’Agostino, directed by Broadway veteran Moni Yakim and set to the brilliant jazz compositions of Ornette Coleman, this multimedia performance aims to illuminate the complex evolution of America’s pre-eminent abstract expressionist painter. And, in case that’s not profound enough, it examines the role and status of art and expression in American life. Long story short: Pollock is poised to take your breath away.

Week Three

A prodigy named Max, the Secret Service, parallel universes, car chases, apologia, J.D. Salinger and Sen. Larry Craig. This is the fantastic stuff of It’s Hell In Here, a play written and directed by Tricklock (when Tricklock was still Riverside Ensemble) alum Abigail Browde, who developed the work during her present residency at Brooklyn Art Exchange in New York. Fusing elements of dance and theater to invent a curiously potent, seemingly allegorical reality, It’s Hell In Here provides an examination of modern uncertainty and, says Browde, a “meditation” on the blur between public and private. Talk about timely.

film

Reel World

Award-winning underground film king Jon Moritsugu (Terminal USA, Fame Whore, Scumrock, Mod Fuck Explosion) will teach an intensive, one-day crash course on low-budget film and video production and distribution. The workshop will take place Saturday, Jan. 16, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Warehouse 21 in Santa Fe (1614 Paseo de Peralta). The class will set filmmakers back a mere $50. Moritsugu’s crash course will focus on low- and no-budget solutions to common problems—from “finding a crew who will work for free” to “film festival scams.” Moritsugu has written, directed and produced more than a dozen films for between $100 and $360,000. His work has played at festivals and exhibits around the world, including Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, New York Underground Film Festival, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. For more information about the class as well as payment details, e-mail ponkrock@centurytel.net or call (505) 819-9881. You can learn more about Moritsugu at jonmoritsugu.com.

Youth in Revolt

Smart, rude teen comedy finds real humor in mock rebellion

Directed with gusto by controversial indie filmmaker Miguel Arteta (Star Maps, Chuck & Buck), starring overexposed but always amusing Michael Cera (Superbad, Juno, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Year One) and based on the picaresque cult novel by C.D. Payne, Youth in Revolt has the sole misfortune of being a wry, rude, coming-of-age movie in an era already well-saturated with wry, rude, coming-of-age movies. Those who caught Cera in 2007’s Juno can be forgiven for getting a certain been-there-done-that vibe off Youth in Revolt’s trailers. It’s not that Youth in Revolt does anything wildly distinctive, but it’s an intelligent laugh-getter that doesn’t spoil its source material by going Hollywood.

Pay to Play?

The ghost of TV future

Here we sit, poised between the Aughts (or whatever we’re calling them) and the teens (not to be confused with that last set of teens with World War I and all that junk). It is a time for both reflection and prognostication. What was so great/awful about the last 10 years? What will happen in the next 10 years? Take TV, for example. “The Sopranos” sure was nifty. Remember Darva Conger from “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?” getting naked in Playboy? Crazy days. That covers the last 10 years. Now, let’s look into our cathode-ray crystal ball and speculate on changes for the coming decade.

food

Best Lee’s

Far East flavors in the Northeast Heights

After two trips to China, I’ve noticed a trend: The dishes I remember from China don’t often show up on American Chinese restaurant menus, and vice-versa.

news

All the Wild Horses

The preservation of Spanish mustangs in New Mexico

Carlos LoPopolo is large in stature—and in ambition. His frame seems to dwarf the wooden bench he’s perched on at the Satellite Coffee on University. His height is hard to gauge from a sitting position, but he looms over the table, a studded black cowboy hat bobbing as he talks, which is most of the time. To his right, Paul Polechla serves as his counterpart—a man of average size and quiet disposition, wearing a white cowboy hat and yellow-and-blue checkered shirt, topped with a matching silk bandana tied around his neck. LoPopolo is a Southwest historian and the founder of the New Mexican Horse Project, an organization many New Mexicans know nothing about. Polechla is the group’s biologist as well as a biology professor at UNM.

Thin Line

While many were stuffing Christmas stockings with toys and chocolate, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was stuffing his crotch with 80 grams of high-explosive pentaerythritol tetranitrate. After being caught on a flight bound for Detroit, the Nigerian student told investigators he had been trained in Yemen by al Qaeda. So mainstream media began scorching Yemen, the country on the Arabian Sea coast called a “haven for Islamic jihadists” on the New York Times website.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Massachusetts—Police in the Town of Barnstable placed 28-year-old James Hinkley in protective custody last Monday night for public drunkenness. After sobering up in the police station, Hinkley was released on his own recognizance at about 1:30 a.m. that Tuesday morning. He was arrested shortly after leaving, however, because police say he left on a bicycle he stole out of the police station lobby. According to Barnstable police Sgt. Sean Sweeney, some late Christmas donations for the Toys for Tots program were being stored in the station’s lobby. Cape Cod Times reports that police officer Matthew Blondin saw Hinkley help himself to one of the kids’ bikes and ride off. Blondin alerted other officers in the area. Hinkley was soon located and placed back under arrest for larceny.

music

Music to Your Ears

Things can get really dark music-wise in December and January. First there's the holiday craze. Bands stop touring, and local shows are few. Following Christmas, presumably due in part to cash flow issues stemming from said holiday craze (not to mention the ongoing recession), fewer people dare to venture out into the long, cold January nights. Being one who attends events several times a week, it's painful to witness the barren interiors of venues where crowds of music fans should be rocking out. This problem—tied up in economics as well as cultural awareness, a dwindling band supply, scant support for local musicians, hostility toward Downtown as an entertainment district, absurdly rigid liquor laws, absent public transportation and taxi services, and a mess of other issues—is more complicated than could be contained within a tiny column. In any case, this message is simple. Within the next month the January/December lull dissipates, giving way to cool, interesting, exciting or otherwise music-related events around Albuquerque and Santa Fe. And they'll only increase throughout the year. If you haven't made a resolution for 2010, please resolve to go see live music. By doing so you'll be entertained in a way incomparable to any video game or sitcom rerun, while also supporting the local culture and economy, and fighting the power—be it CABQ or Old Man Winter.

The World on Fyre

The wickedest band in the area directly surrounding the 12th Street 7-11 releases an album worth at least as much as a mediocre hamburger

Composed of the rural New Mexico-raised dirt heads from the late Unit 7 Drain (one of the most relentless Albuquerque rock bands of all time) and I is for Ida, The World on Fyre is the next phase in an enduring sonic assembly. Harry Redus-Brown, Ella Brown, Tony Sapienz and Chris Newman converge here in a noisier fashion, parting with catchy hooks to create a cacophony that should frighten some and titillate others. This week the band unleashes these new sounds in a physical form. In anticipation, we e-quizzed Harry about drinks, New Mexico music and, of course, The World on Fyre.

Flyer on the Wall

A bill made of local bands could get stranger than this. What if Death Convention Singers, The Squash Blossom Boys and Cherry Tempo played a show together? Or, say The 2bers, Kimo and Nosotros randomly team up for a night? Still, a 100.3 The Peak-presented bill containing the modern rock stylings of Soular, the slick gypsy swing of Le Chat Lunatique and the timeworn sounds of Albuquerque mainstay The Tattersaints is slightly bewildering. It also sounds like a fun Friday night at the Launchpad, so get your eclectic ass down there on Jan. 15, and mingle with your musical brethren—doors open at 8 p.m. The $5, 21-and-over show starts around 9 p.m. And if you don't like one of the bands, you can always play Simpsons pinball, Ms. Pac-Man or Galaga. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

Song Roulette

Not only is World on Fyre member Chris Newman talented enough to face a fierce drum-off with Neil Peart, he’s also a composer and a student artist at UNM where he’s learning to master the piano. This week he set his phone to “party shuffle” and this is what turned up.

art

Culture Shock

At the start of every year, millions (billions?) of people resolve to live the next 365 days differently, healthier and with more purpose. Resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, get in shape and call mom abound, and most of these are doomed to failure. Why? Because change is hard, and sometimes it's stupid.

A Brand-New Bag

The Women’s Design Collective

About 30 women, 20 children and 10 languages were present at the last meeting of the Women’s Design Collective, tucked into a room scattered with fabric scraps and thread in the Southeast Heights. Some of the members helped translate the meeting’s minutes into Swahili, Amharic, Nepali, Kirundi, French, Kunama, Tigrinya, Somali, Spanish and, when needed, English. All of them worked on plans that would help launch their own businesses.

Alibi V.19 No.1 • Jan 7-13, 2010

The Year in Food

As 2009 closes, most of the highlights in the food realm could be framed in the context of two competing paradigms that have clashed for much of the decade. In one corner we have big food: factory farms, fast food restaurants, mystery meat, biotechnology and other examples of the economics of scale applied to food. In the other corner, small food: farmers markets, ecology-based agriculture, seasonal diets of minimally processed food, locavores, etc.

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Double Zero Fiction

The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction is awarded each year to an American author whose book in some way captures the spirit of American life. Early in 2009, I wondered what sort of snapshot of the U.S. one could develop by reading each of this past decade's winners. So I did. And what did America look like in the Aughts?

Picture-Writing

For adults fond of pictures and art accompanying their reading, there is the graphic novel—what Daniel Clowes calls a "marketing moniker" in his depressingly hilarious 2005 book Ice Haven. "Are comics a valid form of expression?," he asks. "The jury's still out, I'm afraid. There exists for some an uncomfortable impurity in the combination of two forms of picture-writing (i.e. letter shapes that form 'words') while to others it's not that big a deal." The past decade saw abundant excellence in adult comic books. Below are a selection of 10 critics' favorites, volumes which also come with the Alibi seal of approval. In alphabetical order:

A Decade’s Detritus

What America watched, heard, said, read, ate and died from in the first 10 years of the 2000s

Take a bow, 2000 to 2009 A.D. You’ve given this millennium one hell of a first act to follow. Here in the U.S., the decade brought terrorism, biblical floods and two wars—the sort of hardships we always assumed (or pretended) we were exempt from. We no longer have the luxury of that thinking. Yet the decade also ushered some of our wildest dreams into reality—medical and technological breakthroughs that are redefining life as we know it, and a president whose election changed the very face of politics.

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Reel World

Comic and collectable toy shop Astro-Zombies in Nob Hill is hosting an awesome “Nightmare After Christmas” event this Saturday, Jan. 9. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., cult actor Sid Haig will be at the store meeting his fans and signing autographs. You can buy photos, figures and DVDs at the store and get them signed for free. If you bring your own stuff, there is a small fee. Recent cult film converts will recognize Haig from his work on Rob Zombie’s films—appearing as the creepy killer Captain Spaulding in House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects and doing some fine cameo work in the Halloween remake. Quentin Tarantino is also a fan, having cast Haig in both Jackie Brown and Kill Bill: Vol. 2. Longtime watchers of the weird have seen him in dozens of TV shows (including a fun run as the villainous Dragos on “Jason of Star Command”) and a string of memorable ’70s exploitation flicks with director Jack Hill (Spider Baby, The Big Doll House, The Big Bird Cage, Coffy, Foxy Brown). Astro-Zombies promises this is just the first of many special in-store appearances slated for 2010. Astro-Zombies is located at 3100 Central SE.

TV Extremes

The best and worst of 2009

The Best

Torchwood: Children of EarthBBC America has become a far more reliable source for fine science fiction than SyFy Channel. Look no further than the invigorated and chart-topping run of “Doctor Who.” (R.I.P. David Tennant, we’ll miss you something awful.) The only reason I’m not putting the good Doctor on “The Best” list is because the “Doctor Who” spin-off “Torchwood” gave us this unforgettable mini-series in 2009. It posited an alien invasion of Earth—but in a way I’ve never seen before. This invasion wasn’t some explosion-filled War of the Worlds story, but rather a frighteningly realistic diplomatic scenario in which Earthly politicians willingly struck a Faustian bargain with some creeeepy alien overlords.

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Best and Worst of 2009

The year in New Mexico drugs, murders, scandals and achievements

Best: U.S. Attorney General Tells Feds to Lay Off State-Licensed Growers and Patients

No-Bid Business

The Council clicked its way through business at the Monday, Jan. 4 meeting. New Councilors Michael Cook and Dan Lewis are still keeping pretty quiet but are starting to ask questions and express opinions.

Were the Aughts Really So Bad?

So, have you pulled your head out of your Oh, I am so glad that decade is over, everything was terrible, the world is coming to an end pity potty? Not yet? Then please spare the rest of us. If yes, or better yet, if you never went there in the first place, good on you. Be a shining light, will you?

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Maryland—A homeless man tried to leave the town of Frederick by stealing a single-engine aircraft at a municipal airport, but he crashed before reaching the end of the runway. Calvin C. Cox, 51, wanted to fly away from Frederick early last Monday morning but ended up in jail on felony charges of theft, burglary and trespassing. Cox was unhurt when the Piper Super Cub ran off a runway at Frederick Municipal Airport and upended in the grass around 2:15 a.m. A canine team tracked him into nearby woods where he was arrested. “He was familiar with aircraft, but I don’t believe he was proficient in the operation of aircraft,” Frederick Police Lt. Clark Pennington told reporters.

music

Top Ten Country Songs Of The Decade

“Oh, Changalang, Y'all" by the Changalang Gang

"Corndogs" by the Nashville Bullies

"Ain't No We In We Need A Dirt Bike" by Amanda

"You Coulda at Least Told Mama" by Crybaby Keith

"And Your Blouse, M'Lady?" by Brant Cobbler

"Google My Horse" by Todd Globb

"Go-Kart for Bobby" by Yearn Heart

"Frozen Dogwater Boogie" by the Keggers

Cerebral Wax

DJ Rob Swift Cuts it up, symphony style

What Ludwig Beethoven is to a piano, DJ Rob Swift is to a set of turntables. The award-winning DJ’s career spans more than two decades. Raised in Queens during what many refer to as the golden age of hip-hop, Swift was exposed to graffiti writing, break-dancing, MC-ing and DJ-ing in their rawest forms.

Flyer on the Wall

Nothing wrong with a little emo babe-age every now and then, no sir. Although, personally I’m quite a bit more excited about the black-and-white checkered floor. On Tuesday, Jan. 12, Diverside, In The End, TransfRictioN and Red Letter F bring the metal (and possibly a little gangsta clown punk) to the Launchpad beginning at 9:30 p.m.—doors open at 8 p.m. Cover charge is $4. This 21-and-over show is not for the young’ins. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

Top 10 Indie Rock Songs of the Decade

To some, indie rock is an aesthetic, something between Sonic Youth and Pavement that’s only played by people with mop-tops, ringer T-shirts and cans of Pabst atop their amplifiers. Others might take the genre literally as music recorded and performed by musicians not affiliated with major labels. Whatever your definition, here are 10 tracks from the past 10 years that continue to amaze.

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Culture Shock

Albuquerque Little Theatre, now celebrating its 80th season, shakes up its reliable formula with Sundays @ 6, a series of programs that will bring together music, poetry, comedy and more. For $6 this Sunday, Jan. 10, at 6 p.m., check out the Dynamite Gang and its assured handling of a range of genres from the '60s to now. ALT is located at 224 San Pasquale SW. For info, call 242-4750 or go to albuquerquelittletheatre.org.

The Crystal Ball

Albuquerque’s visual arts in 2010

As we reflect on the breathtaking accomplishments of Albuquerque’s visual artists and arts organizations in 2009, at the works produced and the circumstances weathered, we marvel at the very thought of what the upcoming year holds. Lamentably, reliable clairvoyants are hard to find these days, so we can do little more than imagine how our art community will stun us in 2010. Unless, of course, community members tell us. Which is just what they did. Here’s what we discovered ...

Best in Arts of 2009

Because science continues to lag behind my imagination,the consciousness-splitting self-cloning device is years away from completion, making it very difficult for any one person to experience all of the art Albuquerque has to offer. That's why any "best of" list of mine is going to be incomplete, at best. Still, it's worth a look back. Here are just a few of the notable events, exhibits, people and organizations of 2009.

Alibi V.18 No.53 • Dec 31-Jan 6, 2009

The Yes Men Fix the World

Merry pranksters 2.0

Two guys in an undisclosed location create counterfeit websites of real corporations. If this sounds like part of an identity theft scheme, well, it is. But instead of phishing for your personal information, the pranksters, known as The Yes Men, quietly wait until they’re invited to industry conferences and television studios. Once there, The Yes Men steal (or at least borrow) the identities of multinational corporations like Halliburton, Exxon and Dow Chemical.

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The Odds & Ends Awards

Odds & Ends, the Alibi’s weekly column of strange news from around the world, is among the most popular features of our paper. It gives even our dysfunctional and maladjusted readers a chance to feel holier-than-thou. Sure, you might have gotten hammered last night and drunk-dialed your ex, but at least you didn't try (and fail) to run over your wife with a dumptruck like that idiot in Maine.

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Reel World

So we bid a fond farewell to 2009, a year of Transformers, Avatar and more 3-D computer-animated cartoons than you could shake a Twizzler at. But what will the futuristic world of 2010 hold, cinema-wise? Let’s gaze into the crystal ball and see which treasures await us at the cineplex in the next 12 months. ... I hope you like remakes and sequels!

Ballers

New Year’s Eve around the dial

Who needs friends when you can get drunk New Year’s Eve with Ryan Seacrest? Or ring in 2010 with Carson Daly? Or watch the ball drop alongside Carmen Electra?

music

The Next Decade of Sound

As the aughts are filed away in the annals of time, we look to the future and consider what’s to come in the next decade. What will it sound like?

I Hear the Sadness Holler

Long before punks turned to Americana, local Hazeldine (née Blister) played the finest y’allternative music on bills with hard rockin’ Burque outfits like Elephant and the Drags. Hazeldine held its own. After an especially hot set you’d feel pleasantly washed-out, as if you’d just seen a raucous punk show.

Flyer on the Wall

While many are doomed to stumble around pouring cheap Champagne all over their lumpy bodies while dodging falling ammunition, you have the opportunity to spend New Year’s Eve with some of the koolest and most artful Albuquerque citizens. The Scrams, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Raven Chacon, Sorority and DJ Caterwaul perform Thursday, Dec. 31, at Wonderbread (1016 Coal SW). Festivities begin at 9 p.m. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

Song Roulette

As a graphic artist, animator, toast-lover and member of the Alibi’s art department, Jeff Drew is a man of many hats—metaphorically and literally. When he’s not making art or analyzing the quality of various Downtown sandwiches, he makes jams under the name Caribou Music. He also has an excellent personal playlist series entitled Found Objects. Below is a sample of Drew’s shuffled tunes.

news

Baby Blues

A same-sex couple's quest for a child

Tamara and Joanna thought they'd already be in Albuquerque, fixing up the home they own, nesting with a newborn. Instead, their attempts to have a baby drained away tens of thousands of dollars. "Here we are, $40,000 or so down the line, and nothing to show for it," Tamara says. "That's hard."

Answer Me This

You, too, can be a star. What does Denzel eat when he's in town? Who's out of step with environmental health codes, according to the city? Why are a couple of South Valley kids bummed out?

A Surplus of Bravery in the Capital

Beware the paper patriots. Beware those wearing flag pins on their lapels and calling for war while risking nothing. Their voices are shrill and strident. They drape themselves in the flag, pound the podium and sneer at the cowards in the crowd. But take away the flag, strip them to the flesh, and beneath their creased suits you will find no battle scars, no indication that their mortal form has ever known the hazards of war. Beneath the flag you will find only the jelly flesh of the bean counter, the war profiteer. It is the soft flesh of the grub. Some of these grubs ascend to high levels of government, even that of the presidency.

art

Culture Shock

Though it’s still winter break for some, there are plenty of artists who can’t sit still. ADD? Nah (well, not diagnosed, anyway). Think of it as creative urges that refuse to be contained. Why usher in 2010 in the usual way, nursing an Irish car bomb hangover while watching a Smokey and the Bandit marathon, when you can greet the new year with new art? Lucky for you, this weekend is a perfect time to do just that.

The Ethical Slut

An interview with an alternative lifestyle pioneer

It comes up at parties. It’s frequently referenced in alternative lifestyle 101 classes. It has changed countless lives, saved numerous relationships and ignited new ones. What resource do we speak of? None other than the groundbreaking book The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy. Published in 1997, The Ethical Slut gave language to a practice that many people had been participating in, some blindly, for generations—polyamory. The Ethical Slut is a guidebook to what consensual, ethical, non-monogamy can be, and outlines how to do it in a logical, practical way. Needless to say, when the new edition of the book came out this past year many people were ecstatic, but nowhere near as ecstatic as we were when Easton agreed to participate in a virtual interview with the Alibi. She found some time on a trip to Europe to answer a few questions.

food

Ask Ari

Q: In a recent cold snap my garlic and winter squash harvest froze in my unheated garage. It remains frozen. Is this a bad thing? If so, what can I do to salvage/preserve what's left of it?

The Hunting Hangover

What hunting and your appendix have in common

The propensity to hunt is like the appendix—built into every one of us, although unnecessary for modern-day survival. Unlike the appendix, the hunting habit can't be so easily removed. This is a good thing.