Last week on St. Patrick's Day I was playing soul 45s on the Blackbird patio when a sad text from my sister came across the wire. She said her friend Laura's husband Alex had suddenly died and that everyone in New Orleans was shattered. I told her I was sorry and to give Laura my condolences, then got back to playing records. It wasn't until the next day that I realized what Alex she was talking about: Alex Chilton—guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer, king of cult power-pop.
Lady Reporters XXX—As I sat watching Crazy Heart and praying for death, it occurred to me that I don’t particularly care for the way print journalists, particularly of the female variety, are portrayed in movies.
If I’ve been critical of President Obama and congressional Democrats for watering down legislation during the health reform debate (and I certainly have, on many occasions these last months), then why did I feel such a sense of elation over the bill’s passage Sunday night?
Dateline: New York—After cops came pounding on their door again last week, an elderly Brooklyn couple told the New York Daily News they’re tired of having their house raided by the NYPD. Walter Martin, an 83-year-old World War II veteran, and his 82-year-old wife Rose haven’t broken the law, and yet cops have mistakenly shown up at their house at least 50 times in the last eight years. The Daily News reported its computer search showed 15 other people living at the Martins’ Marine Park address. The Martins don’t know any of them. As a result, police from all over New York’s boroughs have banged on the Martins’ door searching for murderers, robbers and even rogue cops. “I’m really worried,” Rose Martin told the newspaper. “How could so many people get my address and how could cops be coming from so many different precincts?” Police are at a loss to explain why the couple’s home continues to be a target. “Our identity theft squad is investigating the matter,” Inspector Ed Mullen, an NYPD spokesperson, told the Daily News.
On St. Patrick’s Day, ¡Ask a Mexican! columnist Gustavo Arellano visited Blackbird Buvette in Downtown Albuquerque for a book-signing party with the Alibi. He was in the state gathering research for his next book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America (And Soon, the World). An entire chapter will be devoted to New Mexico’s culinary ways. To honor the writer from Orange County and our neighbors to the south, we drank, we danced, we ate, we laughed, we acknowledged the disturbing similarities between the treatment of Irish immigrants in the 19th century and Mexicans today. And we drank some more. Fun and clever discourse abounded, and Arellano wisely got restaurant recommendations from the audience. We can’t wait until Arellano comes back in the fall.
The makers of the documentary film Tapped will make a stop at Santa Fe’s Center for Contemporary Arts on Friday, March 26. The film, created by the producing team behind Who Killed the Electric Car? and I.O.U.S.A., exposes the scare tactics and polluting ways of the multibillion dollar bottled water industry. Director Stephanie Soechtig and producer Sarah Olson are in the midst of a cross-country “Get Off the Bottle” tour, driving from New York to L.A. in a translucent container recycling truck. (The containers are translucent, not the truck.) In addition to promoting the film at various independent cinemas, the filmmakers are on a mission to replace America’s disposable plastic water battles with reusable metal ones. Their appearance in Santa Fe is presented in conjunction with Bioneers and Earth Care International. The recycling truck will stop at the Santa Fe Plaza before arriving at the CCA Cinematheque at 6 p.m. The film screening starts at 8 p.m. For more information, log on to ccasantafe.org.
Levi Eleven pop art, presented in an encompassing salmon tone, denotes performances by Albuquerque’s Shoulder Voices and The Grave of Nobody’s Darling, along with Brazilian pop-punk band Canja Rave. The show happens on Saturday, March 27, at Burt’s Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW) at 10 p.m., and it’s free.
In many religions and cultures, altars are used to present offerings, tokens of sacrifice. Over thousands of years, altars have become places where people seek solace and guidance. OffCenter Community Arts and the New Mexico Art Therapy Association will be accepting entries for the show Altars of Light on March 25 and 26 from noon to 6 p.m. at OffCenter (808 Park SW). The organizers are looking for art that incorporates the altar and "its image as sacred ground to promote healing from the wounds of sexual violence." Each artist is invited to submit up to two entries for this juried show. There is no entry fee. The opening reception for Altars of Light will be at OffCenter on Friday, April 2, from 5 to 8 p.m. Go to offcenterarts.org.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): All but one of our planet's mountain ranges have been mapped: the Gamburtsev Mountains, which are buried under 2.5 miles of ice in Antarctica. Recent efforts to get a read on this craggy landscape, aided by a network of seismic instruments, have revealed some initial details about it, including its role in forming the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. I recommend that you regard the Gamburtsevs as an iconic metaphor in the coming months, Aries. They'll be an apt symbol for one of your life's featured themes: the discovery and exploration of a massive unknown territory that has been hidden from view.