Niger, a landlocked West African country roughly twice the size of Texas, is one of the poorest places in the world. Mostly covered by desert, this hot, dusty zone is home to multiple ethnic groups, many of which are still nomadic. They lead their camels, cattle and goats along the edge of the Sahara in search of savanna pastures and water sources, sometimes clashing over limited resources. Two such groups are the Tuareg and the Wodaabe, who each have their own histories, social structures and religious beliefs.
Steve Feltham’s eyes and smile grow wide when the subject of the Loch Ness monsters comes up. “I think they’re out there, certainly,” he says, though he adds with a hint of sadness that it may not be true for much longer. He estimates there are probably a half-dozen creatures left in the lake (down from dozens in earlier eras) and will be fewer each passing year: “Sightings have declined. They’re gradually dropping off of old age, I think.”
It’s all over but the crying. Or the cheering. Or the laughing. Depends on what kind of film they were trying to make. A grand total of 40 filmmaking teams raced around Albuquerque last weekend trying to write, direct and edit short films in just two days as part of the annual 48 Hour Film Project. All teams were required to include the same three things: a character (a gardener named Jay or Julie Michaels), a prop (a bag) and a line of dialogue (“It works for me.”). In addition, each team was given a specific genre in which their film was supposed to fit (horror, film noir, Western, romance, comedy, etc.). Now the films are done and it’s time to see what our local teams were able to come up with. On Thursday, July 15, at 6:30 p.m., Friday, July 16, at 6 and 8:15 p.m., and on Sunday, July 18, at 6 p.m. blocks of completed 48 Hour films will be screened at the KiMo Theatre in Downtown Albuquerque. It’ll cost you $10 a screening, $17 for two separate screenings or $30 for all four screenings. Judges will pick the best films to represent Albuquerque at the national 48 Hour Film competition later this year. For a complete rundown of the screening schedule, log on to the 48 Hour homepage. ... And congrats to all the weary teams who braved the two-day challenge!
Christopher Nolan’s newest takes viewers on a major head-trip
By Devin D. O’Leary
Are you familiar with brain freeze? That icy, slightly painful but ultimately exhilarating sensation you get from sucking down a slushie or other tasty frozen beverage? It kinda hurts, but you kinda want more. Inception is hell of a lot like that.
OMG! Burning Man is right around the corner. The basement is filled with camping supplies, thousands of gallons of water and enough body paint to cover an army. But there's one very important thing missing: the ability to hula hoop. (I don't know why hooping is so important, but it seems that next to every art bike, my Burning Man-bound friends have a hula hoop.) Even if you're not a Burner, there are plenty of reasons to get those hips in motion. Really. Hula hooping helps with coordination, it makes your tummy tighter, and it makes those bobby socks and saddle shoes you're always wearing totally in style. The Rhythm Dance Lounge (4821 Central NE) offers classes every Thursday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. for only $10 a class. Reservations are recommended, so call 891-3748 to do just that or check out centerforcehoops.weebly.com if you're not yet convinced.
Two Albuquerque artists take an unconventional approach to visions of death
By Samara Alpern
The devil may reach out with bristled claws to grab your hair. But, then again, he may not. It may be that butterflies carry you into the ether. It’s hard to say what happens after this life. But, either way, momento mori: Remember, you must die.
516 gussies itself up in Unraveling Tradition and Restoration
By Patricia Sauthoff
Yelizaveta Nersesova and I sit on the floor in front of her installation “A Rare Perfection of Form” for 516 ARTS’ upcoming show, Unraveling Tradition. The work is a hot-pink painted log balanced precariously on the ground. Green and yellow and blue thread encases a hook in the wood, connecting it to the wall, where the thread wraps around pins in an interwoven design. Looking at it, I’m overtaken by a sense of déjà vu.
I'm glad that eating organic is easier than it used to be. Conventional supermarkets offer some organic produce. Natural food markets abound. It might be time to join a community farm program such as Beneficial Farms CSA, which has been active in Santa Fe since 1994 and is now enrolling members in Albuquerque.
Where salsa is music, Habaneros are people and pork is king
By Ari LeVaux
It came as a surprise to me that Cuban food isn’t spicy, especially since residents of the Cuban capital La Habana bear the name of the famously hot habanero chile pepper. I carried my ignorance all the way to Cuba, where I once lead a group of students to study Cuban agriculture. My expectation for spicy food, coupled with a poor grasp of Spanish, raised eyebrows at a farm when I asked about their pepinos picantes. One of my students explained to me that pepino means cucumber (but c'mon, doesn't pepino kind of sound like "little pepper?").
Frontier—in America, the word holds freedom. It implies individuality and self-reliance. "It's where we go to remake ourselves," says photographer David Taylor [See this week’s News Feature, “Port of Entry.”] Frontera on the other hand, adheres to the literal definition. It's a line, a boundary.
From right and left, two men find their way to the real immigration story
By Marisa Demarco
When Paul Wells started working as a border patrol agent in Las Cruces 30 years ago, his station had a two-way radio and a telephone. "That was it," he says, and there were less than 2,000 agents nationwide.
"May 7, 1990. Dear diary, today we (me Dad Li'l Bro) went on a huge huge bike ride 14 miles it was so so fun. We went on one of those bridges across the highway. When we were done we went to this place called ‘20 Carrots’ and got a milkshake! PS All the waitresses wear earrings in their nose. Hoop and diamond."
You knew Denish vs. Martinez was going to be a donnybrook the second Susana Martinez declared victory on primary night. Since then, this huffing and puffing about these "ladies" not comporting themselves is not just silly, it's insulting. Welcome to modern politics. You get your love at home.
Dateline: Taiwan—Dentists are urging fast-food chains to put health warnings on their burgers—not because the burgers contain harmful ingredients, but because they are so dangerously large. According to a report in the China Post, dentists in Taiwan say many burger eaters have been treated for jaw-related injuries after trying to eat the plus-sized sandwiches offered by many national chains. Hsu Ming-Iung, associate professor of the School of Dentistry at National Yang-Ming University, said the human jaw is designed to open for objects up to 1 1/2 half inches. Many fast-food restaurants now offer burgers towering up to 3 inches in height. The big burgers are causing some diners to suffer symptoms of temporomandibular dysfunction—including sore jaws and difficulty opening the mouth—and should be banned, say the dentists.
Scene 1 of Tennessee Williams’ magnum opus A Streetcar Named Desire opens with an introduction to the New Orleans neighborhood where the play unfolds. Williams lovingly illuminates the city's beautiful decay, omnipresent river and music around every corner. “The section is poor," he writes, "but, unlike corresponding sections in other American cities, it has a raffish charm. The houses are mostly white frame, weathered grey, with rickety outside stairs and galleries and quaintly ornamented gables."
Despite the inevitable dirty old men in the audience, The Eyeliners didn’t draw attention to gender. Sisters Gel, Lisa and Laura debuted as Psychodrama, certainly not a name that screams “girl band!” Nor did they emulate the pandering jailbait image that the girls of The Donnas milked successfully well into their 20s. There were no baby doll dresses or torn fishnets. Instead they wore tees, hoodies and high-top Chuck Taylors. All Psychodrama wanted was to rock out and have fun.
Conjuring Victorian-era occult imagery, this ephemeral graphic notes the coming of Reverend Beat-Man. The Bern, Switzerland-based blues trash preacher is a one-man band, the founder of garage punk record label Voodoo Rhythm Records and a servant of the Church of Rock and Roll. See the Reverend in Santa Fe on Thursday, July 15, at 9 p.m. He’ll be performing alongside the comparably spooky New Zealander Delaney Davidson. The seance—$5 admission—will take place at Little Wing (at The Candyman Strings & Things, 851 St. Michael's Drive, Santa Fe). (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Rob Nakai is a vocalist and guitarist for Albuquerque bands Holiday Sail and Bat Wings For Lab Rats. The latter, a four-piece that melds diverse genres like punk, hip-hop, metal and funk, releases its debut album Punk • Hop • A • Delic at the Launchpad on Saturday, July 17. Below you’ll find an equally diverse sampling of Nakai’s music collection, selected at random.
My men’s health care journey began with a heartwarming moment of inappropriate groping. During nursing school, a heavily medicated gentleman reached out from his hospital bed and cupped my butt cheek with his trembling hand, muttering “That’s nice” before passing out. He had no recollection of the event after he woke up and was just as courteous as can be for the remainder of his hospitalization.
The feature documentary The Matter of Everything: A Quantum Dose of Reality is playing this Saturday, July 10, at the CCA Cinematheque in Santa Fe (1050 Old Pecos Trail). The film explores “quantum reality and the interconnectedness of nature from the quantum to the universe.” I’m sure that makes sense to some of you. In any case, the film’s director, Enrico Lappano, will be there to (get this) “accompany the soundtrack live on the cello.” The screening (which begins at 2:30 p.m., by the way) will be followed by a Q&A session with filmmakers and physicist Scott Menary of CERN-Fermilab (who might be able to make heads or tails out of all this spiritually mathematical talk). To further bend your brain, log on to film’s website.
With everybody in Hollywood—from DreamWorks (Shrek) to Sony (Open Season) to Paramount (Barnyard) to 20th Century Fox (Ice Age) to Warner Bros. (Happy Feet)—trying to catch up with Pixar (Toy Story 3) in the CGI-animated sweepstakes, it barely registers when somebody new steps into the fray. The new player this week: Universal Pictures, whiping out its first CGI toon, Despicable Me.
Yawn. Another reality show on MTV featuring some barely remembered D-list celebrity mugging for cameras, performing patently scripted simulations of real life and trying desperately to make us forget his or her last embarrassing appearance on the pages of TMZ.com? Wake me when they start showing music videos again. ... But wait. There’s something subtly different about MTV’s newest “celebreality” show. Perhaps it’s the lighting. Perhaps it’s the camera technique. Perhaps it’s the fact that the star is a monkey in a helmet.
Here are two really awesome reasons to spend the weekend in Santa Fe. First, the Santa Fe Writers Workshop takes over the College of Santa Fe campus (1600 St. Michael’s Drive) for a few days. The workshop, which costs $490, gives budding writers of the fiction, poetry and nonfiction genres a chance to hone their skills with some of New Mexico’s best. Mark Behr, Michael McGarrity and Bill deBuys are just a few of the big names who want to help you get writing from Thursday, July 8, to Sunday, July 11. Find out how to register at csf.edu/summer_workshops/writers. Once the sessions are over, you can hit up the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, the biggest market of its kind anywhere. Vendors from around the world gather at on Museum Hill’s Milner Plaza (on Camino Lejo) to offer up one-of-a-kind artistic wares. If you’re worried someone else will get the really good stuff, there’s an early bird market Saturday, July 10, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. that’ll cost you $50. Otherwise, head up from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 10, for only $10 if you buy tickets in advance or $15 for those who wait and get ’em at the door; or Sunday, July 11, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for only $5. Get tickets at folkartmarket.org.
A cast party for a solo show is basically somebody wearing a little too much eyeliner drinking alone. There’s no one with whom to reminisce about the nice save when one actor forgot his lines or joke about the lead actress’ penchant for hiding props.
Our mission: To embark on an art binge throughout Albuquerque on First Friday with nothing but open minds, a 1997 Honda Civic, a pack of cigarettes and a few bottles of water. We found scenesters, an old friend (Hi, Kenneth!), lots of cheese and some unexpectedly awesome artwork. Minds were blown, wine was drunk, and we returned home exhausted and fulfilled. This is the journey:
The community-based nutrition program started out 38 years ago with daily meals for seniors. But not many people realize that Albuquerque Meals on Wheels isn’t only for seniors. Anyone who needs the services of AMOW can apply to the program. It presently serves clients from 27 to 104 years of age.
While many Asian cuisines create exotic flavors with strange ingredients, Korean food manages unfamiliar experiences from relatively pedestrian parts. Japanese dine on poisonous puffer fish, Mongolians enjoy their horse meat and the Thai are known to love crispy insects—but surprisingly, these weird-sounding morsels can taste pretty normal. The deep-fried grasshoppers I tried on the streets of Bangkok had the flavor and texture of chicharrónes. Cobra tastes like chicken. A plate of stir-fried donkey in central China could have been beef. Korean dishes, meanwhile, can look normal enough on paper, but they take taste buds to interesting new places.
Economist says job losses have been hard on the state’s Hispanics
By Patrick Lohmann
In the summer of 2006, New Mexico economist Gerry Bradley and his colleagues were baffled by housing construction data. “Too many houses were being built. We’d never seen anything like it," he says. “It looked like something that wasn’t going to continue.”
Ah, Grandaddy Paseo del Bosque, that 16-mile behemoth that stretches all the way from Alameda in the north to Rio Bravo in the south. The best, most perfectly car-free artery in the entire city. The trail so epic that we're only going to talk about half of it this week.
It's no easy trick to write about the World Cup soccer tournament while it's happening. When you're not watching one of the 64 games, you're busy bantering about missed calls and poor coaching decisions, or you're emotionally spent from two hours of shouting at tiny men bopping a ball around your television screen.
Dateline: Indonesia—A dozen children were killed while taking part in an—obviously unsuccessful—ceremony to dispel bad luck in their remote village of Aceh last month. “There were about 37 kids gathered together on a wire-cable suspension bridge when it collapsed and fell into a river,” district chief Ibnu Hasyim told reporters for Agence France-Presse. The children were taking part in a traditional ritual ceremony to ward off misfortune after a measles outbreak in the area. The adults were throwing live chickens as offerings into the river when the bridge collapsed. Twenty five children were rescued with minor injuries, but 12 others were swept away by the river’s swift current.
The celestial twang of The Grave of Nobody’s Darling
By Captain America
Jessica Billey and Bud Melvin must be the most creative couple to hit the local music scene in some time. Hailing from Chicago, each counts more than a half-dozen musical projects between them. There’s the audacious and experimental Lionhead Bunny, in which they play empty whiskey bottles, the mysterious vocaltron (which seems to be of the band’s creation) and 19 effects pedals. In the Blue Rose Ramblers, the pair champions vintage fiddle songs of the sort on which Bob Wills based his Western swing. As part of the massive Cobra//group ensemble, they push the limits of what you or I think of as music. Solo, Melvin pioneered chiptune banjo rustling (reprogramming Game Boy blips and bleeps into five-string music) and Billey has played violin for The Mekons and Smog.
Vertigo Venus is an unapologetic promo machine. Overkill Internet campaigns swathe social networking sites until you feel you’ve been waterboarded into submission. Excessive, yes, but the outcome is massive support from a rabid fan base that loves the band’s punky synthpop goodness.
The fifth annual New Mexico Jazz Festival has a gaggle of big names that will make jazz fans’ ears prick up in expectation—Toshiko Akiyoshi, Jimmy Cobb, Miguel Zenón, Los Pleneros de la 21, Bobby Shew and Doug Lawrence, just to name a few. That short list alone includes two NEA Jazz Masters, two National Heritage Fellows, Grammy winners and nominees, and a MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellow, among other honorees.
The artist behind this fanciful flyer seems to reference ’70s illustration and a certain children’s show that was filled with an ensemble cast of Muppets and really strange animated shorts. Blocky text contrasts with pale yellow watercolor, and the viewer learns that Gay Beast, XRY, The Gatherers and Discotays will play at Wunderkind (1016 Coal SW) at 8 p.m. on Sunday, July 11, amidst a shower of multicolored circles. See the glam / psychedelic / new wave magic, and possibly a few unnamed acts, for only $5. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
A Hawk & A Hacksaw is about to embark on a grand tour of Europe, beginning in Austria and making more than a score of stops in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Italy, the United Kingdom and Germany (see ahawkandahacksaw.blogspot.com to learn more about the band’s travels). But before the noted folk act departs fair Albuquerque, Heather Trost and Jeremy Barnes will play an all-ages show at The Kosmos (1715 Fifth Street NW) on Friday, July 9, at 8 p.m. Below, find out what wonderful foreign things show up in Trost and Barnes’ shuffled songs—commented upon collectively.
“Yankee Doodle Dandy,” perhaps the sassiest of all classic patriotic American tunes, is thought to have been written in mid-18th-century Europe, possibly during the Seven Years’ War. Though its exact origin is unclear, the song was a British invention and was used to deride American Colonists and their ragtag army. The most recognizable verse (there are nearly 200) is not seen in this sheet music: “Yankee Doodle went to town / Upon a little pony / Stuck a feather in his cap / And called it Macaroni"—nonsense on the surface, this verse is actually a snobby insult to pastoral Colonial fashion (a Macaroni was a traveled, upper-class European who wore extravagant wigs). In the American tradition of taking things that don’t belong to us, “Yankee Doodle Dandy” was reclaimed by the disheveled patriots and became a source of Colonial pride. And, as we all know, in the end the garishly dressed Americans defeated the pretentious and dimwitted red coats whose flamboyant uniforms made them easy targets. U.S.A.! (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Arm yourself with truth, justice and the American way
By Carolyn Carlson
One warm late May evening, DC and some friends headed Downtown to hit a few bars and celebrate a friend’s college graduation. He never expected to end up in jail, accused of disorderly conduct. DC is not a stereotypical gangster dude who quibbles with cops just for fun. He is a white, college-educated, 26-year-old Republican who considers himself conservative and pro-law and order. He said he was arrested for what amounts to opening a rear passenger car door and questioning a police officer during a lengthy seat belt violation traffic stop.
From National Archives: The following text is a transcription of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution in their original form. These amendments were ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as the Bill of Rights.
In 1975 Jack Lee, Paul Collins and Peter Case formed the short-lived but influential power pop group The Nerves. Most notably, the band is responsible for the classic track "Hanging on the Telephone," later made famous by Blondie. The group also had a hand in founding the West Coast punk scene—but just as the cultural explosion got its footing in L.A., The Nerves split in 1978. Collins and Case formed The Breakaways, and Lee went solo. Case went on to find success as the frontman for The Plimsouls, but by the mid-’80s that band dissolved and Case returned to his solo roots.
“Listen, Bob, I don’t have time to talk about the memo—I’m up to my flank in plastic army men right now.” A combination of discount wallpaper, highly effective business practices and possibly the artist’s bad acid trip make this an intriguing work of photo montage. More intriguing is the idiosyncratic show it notes—Grand Canyon, Shoulder Voices and The Booty Green—at Atomic Cantina (315 Gold SW) on Saturday, July 3, beginning at around 10 p.m. The show is free for the 21-and-over crowd. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
For the mathematically uninclined, calculus looks less like math and more like an indecipherable secret language. Instead of explaining anything, it simply adds more mystery and, often, a little bit of fear. Fortunately, math fans and foes can get together under the domed ceiling of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (1801 Mountain NW) to see math in action in a much more meaningful manner. “First Friday Fractals” takes mathematically complex geometric shapes, projects them, zooms in close to show their detail and complexity, and makes math beautiful. Shows are Friday, July 2, at 6, 7 and 8 p.m. The cost is $5 for kids 3 to 12, $7 for seniors and $10 for everybody else. Get tickets at nmnaturalhistory.org or at the museum.
The forgotten past is almost always the most interesting
By Patricia Sauthoff
As a history nerd, I've often wondered what exactly it is that draws me to certain people or times. For example, I love me some medieval India, especially the Mughal Empire. Maybe it's some past life thing, who knows? But it came up again for me while wandering around the National Hispanic Cultural Center exhibition New Mexico's African American Legacy: Visible, Vital, Valuable. I was reminded of this freelance job I had a few years ago in which I wrote short biographies of notable African-Americans, anyone from John James Audubon to Charity Adams Earley, people about whom I knew nearly nothing when I started but who inspired me through their courageous actions.
General Petraeus swapped for General McChrystal in Afghanistan
By Alex E. Limkin
The names of the countries in which we are fighting no longer matter. This is what happens when war drags on interminably. It becomes enough to refer to the conflicts solely by the passage of time during which the dead and the bereft have multiplied insensibly.
Dateline: Washington—According to a report in the Seattle Times, a Lynnwood man has been charged with insurance fraud after falsely reporting the theft of 212 silk neckties worth an estimated $33,000. So what tipped off investigators? This was the third time 49-year-old Carlton Wopperer has reported the ties being stolen. The case began on Jan. 5, 2009, when Wopperer told the Mill Creek Police Department his vehicle had been broken into. He reported that four plastic containers filled with 212 of his pricey silk neckties had been stolen. According to Wopperer, he was taking the ties to a quilt shop to see about having them sewn into a quilt for display. Following the theft, Wopperer purchased $33,370 worth of replacement ties from Nordstrom, Butch Blum, Barneys New York and Mario’s of Seattle. His insurance company covered the cost. Six months later, Wopperer told the Everett Police Department his vehicle had again been burglarized, this time while he was moving. The 212 replacement ties he’d purchased after the January theft? Gone. The insurance company paid out another $35,000 to restock the closet of their tieless client. Unfortunately, an adjuster with the insurance company checked up on the claim, only to find that most of the replacement ties Wopperer purchased in January had been returned to the stores almost immediately. Wopperer allegedly held onto the receipts and filed the second claim six months later. After the crime was reported to the Insurance Commissioner’s Special Investigation Unit and referred to the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office, it was discovered that way back in 2000, Wopperer told the Lynnwood Police department that his collection of—you guessed it—“212 silk ties” had been stolen from his vehicle while parked at a mall. His insurer at the time paid out $16,900. Wopperer is scheduled to be arraigned next month in Snohomish County Superior Court on two counts of insurance fraud. But will he be wearing a tie to court?
Albuquerque’s Desert Rose Playhouse is jumping on the moviemaking bandwagon and will present The Feed, an evening of film shorts by local and international filmmakers, on Friday and Saturday, July 2 and 3. Among the shorts to be screened: the 2010 Sundance Jury Prize winner “Drunk History: Douglass & Lincoln” (Starring Will Ferrell and Don Cheadle). The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. each evening. Admission is $7. Desert Rose Playhouse is located at 6921 Montgomery NE.
Documentary about rebellious art is itself rebellious art
By Devin D. O’Leary
OK, so here’s the setup: There’s this crazy French dude living in Los Angeles by the name of Thierry Guetta. He carries a video camera wherever he goes and is seemingly addicted to documenting everything that happens in his life. While on vacation in France, Guetta hooks up with a distant cousin who happens to be an up-and-coming street artist by the pseudonym of Space Invader. By following Space Invader around, Guetta finds himself on the cusp of a growing art movement. Soon, Guetta’s camera is pointed at the likes of Shepard Fairey, Banksy, Buff Monster, Swoon, Borf and others as they practice their quasi-legal mixture of art and vandalism. Graffiti, stenciling, stickering, postering and guerilla art installation are just some of the hallmarks of this edgy genre, and here they are, laid bare for Guetta’s little digital camera.
Summer isn’t known to be the kindest season to scripted drama. People tend to have better things to do in summer. In winter, they’re a captive audience. But in summer, they’re off having picnics or driving across the country in an RV or watching big summer movies. Undaunted, ABC is trying to compete with basic cable stations, who are now in the business of cranking out new content (largely hour-long dramas) year-round. As a result, ABC is now offering not one but two new scripted series on Sunday nights: the crime dramedy “Scoundrels” and the supernatural soaper “The Gates.”
Google “bistro albuquerque,” and you’ll find more than a dozen restaurants that serve French, Asian, Chinese, Italian and contemporary cuisine. Figuring out what they have in common is a challenge. The word “bistro” has a fuzzy etymology. Some attribute it to the presence of Russian Cossacks in 1815 Paris who used the term bystro (quickly). Some linguists say the word didn’t enter the lexicon until the end of the 18th century. Wikipedia notes that bistros may have evolved when landlords, who offered room and board, expanded their kitchens by setting up sidewalk tables for the public. They served homey food—braised stews, simple meals and a house wine.
The line between Mexican and New Mexican food has always been thin. Perhaps nowhere in Albuquerque is this border more porous than at Rincon del Pollo, on north Fourth Street near Alameda, where few of the menu items can be ordered without answering the New Mexico state question. But the owners, Rifiel and Ana Rivera, call their food Mexican.