It “turned husbands into adulterers, it turned scholars into swindlers, it turned women into lunatics or shut-ins,” writes author Stefanie Syman. It sounds dangerous. It sounds exciting. It certainly doesn’t sound like something you can do at home on your Wii.
That thing is yoga, and Syman’s new book, The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America, traces its path from esoteric to exercise.
The Alibi’s Patricia Sauthoff speaks with authors Stephanie Syman and Mark Singelton about the cultural history of yoga in America
Yoga-junkies, wrap your mind around asanas and more with the Alibi’s interviews with authors Stefanie Syman and Mark Singleton. We spoke with Syman over the phone during the first leg of her book tour and sat down with Singleton at Santa Fe’s Body Café (which explains the clinking in the background). Both interviews have been edited slightly for time and to take out the bits where we wandered off topic. Now, pardon us, all this yoga research reminds us we’ve got a pose to perfect…
Arizona’s stiff immigration law was scheduled to take effect on Thursday, July 29. As the day drew near, opponents were sweating, hoping a court would issue at least a temporary injunction to halt SB 1070 while lawsuits proceeded. On Wednesday, July 28, District Court Judge Susan Bolton blocked part of the law, which she said may be unconstitutional.
In a case of irony invading my life, I was fired from my newspaper job for writing.
I had been working as a crime reporter for a twice-weekly paper, which means I was broke but also working as feature writer, city council writer, question-of-the-week writer, parade correspondent, photographer and Lunch Boy.
Lunch Boy (one who fetches the editor’s lunch) wasn’t offered as a class in college, so I learned on the job. Actually, I have no journalism degree, either, and learned how to be a reporter by being a reporter.
Mmm, how about those gravid gray rain clouds lately? August, our wettest month, is nigh. When that musty creosote tang is in the air, a low sun shining under the numinous pillar of a classic anvil-shaped thunderhead, I always feel inspired to buy a blank canvas and demonstrate my searing love for the desert monsoon season by painting an extremely trite watercolor landscape. Alas, nothing that springs from the brush of Sprocket will ever be worthy of even the shittiest Old Town gallery, so I choose to express myself through the medium of bike rides.
Jennifer Dwyer launched the Albuquerque Chicken Coop Tour two years ago. Her idea was to connect people who raised chickens with people who wanted to know how to do it themselves. That first year, a handful of curious people visited around a half-dozen locations. By 2009 some of the visitors had become chicken ranchers, and new visitors numbered nearly a hundred.
A great flood didn’t carry Edward and Iolanda Johnson from New Orleans to Albuquerque in 2005, but Katrina had something to do with it. That journey would be a logical reason to call their restaurant Noah’s Ark Café, which serves a range of New Orleans specialties—but Edward says that’s not why they picked the name. Perhaps it’s a nod to the biblical boat’s function, stewarding the DNA of the animal kingdom to safe passage. But in the case of Noah’s namesake café, it’s the secrets of Cajun, Creole and New Orleans soul food that are guarded. Closely.
This Thursday, July 29, Fathom Events will put on Elvis on Tour: The 75th Anniversary Celebration. This one-night-only theatrical event, hosted by Priscilla Presley, will feature much of the last concert footage ever shot with the King of Rock ’n’ Roll. In addition to the more than 25 musical numbers, there will be special montage sequences (supervised by Martin Scorsese) showcasing Elvis’ early career in music and movies. The film will be simulcast locally at Downtown 14, Rio 24 and Cottonwood 16 beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12.50 and are available in advance through Fandango.com.
Chilling horror documentary proves some urban legends are real
By Devin D. O’Leary
While the name “Cropsey” may not ring any bells with New Mexico natives, we’re at least familiar with the concept. Cropsey is an urban legend centered in Staten Island, N.Y., but spreading throughout the Eastern seaboard. According to tales told mostly around the campfire, Cropsey was the name of a mental patient (or maybe a mad doctor) who had a hook for a hand (or did he carry an ax?). He lived in the tunnels under an abandoned hospital, and he would come out at night to prey on unwary teenagers who happened to wander into his neck of the woods. It was—as they always say—a true story, because the teller of the tale heard it directly from a cousin who heard it from a friend who knew the cop that was involved. Every place has a story like this, a cautionary tale designed to keep kids away from dark woods and dangerous buildings (or in the case of New Mexico’s La Llorona, overflowing ditch banks).
“Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated” on Cartoon Network
By Devin D. O’Leary
Do you realize that Scooby-Doo has appeared in 10 TV series, two live-action theatrical films and countless direct-to-DVD spin-offs? The show hasn’t been off the air since its 1969 debut as “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” That means nearly every American under the age of 50 grew up watching Scooby-Doo. Now, with Cartoon Network’s freshly rebooted “Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated,” the show lives on for another generation.
Thomas Edison intended the phonograph for political speeches and commerce, not frivolous music. Darryl McDaniels (of Run DMC) adores lightweight chanteuse Sarah McLachlan. Experimental noise is influenced by pop music even if just to rebel against it.
Americana is an umbrella term for roots-based musics native to the states, such as country and Western, bluegrass and folk. Despite vast differences, Americana acts tend to join forces, creating juxtaposed yet cohesive shows. It wouldn’t be unusual to find truck-driving country, indie follk and Emmet Otter’s Jug Band all cozying up under one roof. The appeal—be it pastoral, nostalgic or simply unplugged—crosses demographics, too. The music is usually suitable for grandpas, babies, and everyone in between in almost any kind of venue.
It appears as though a male student from the class of '88 created this masterwork on the back of a Mead college-ruled notebook during study hall, having been inspired by the bulbous typeface and cartoonish guts seen on Garbage Pail Kids trading cards. Corresponding with the imagery, this flyer signifies the performance of noisy, dark, devil music by Pigeon Religion, Hell-Kite, Butt Pussy and Acryptical. The show happens at UnGrind Cafe (1016 Coal SW) at 8:30 p.m. Five dollars gets you into the all-ages (duh) show. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
The Saltine Ramblers’ Cory Minefee shuffles us some tracks
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Cory Minefee is a vocalist and electric guitar player for bluegrass-oriented alt. country band The Saltine Ramblers. On Friday the group releases its first proper studio recording, Arroyo Borealis. What kinds of things does Minefee listen to? See the five shuffled tracks below.
Raise your hands if you’re tired of the Twilight fad. OK, those of you who didn’t put your hands up, you are dismissed. The rest of us can take a break from solemn teens and go back to the original high schoolers that want to live forever. The song is creeping in, isn’t it? Four little words, and the theme from Fame gets instantly lodged in the brain. The Albuquerque Little Theatre (224 San Pasquale SW) takes on all the singing and dancing and youthful drama of talented kids seeking prestige at a performing arts high school. Fame opens Friday, July 30, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 8. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m., Sunday performances are at 2 p.m. Get tickets, which are $15, at albuquerquelittletheatre.org or by calling the box office at 242-4750.
Reviving an ancient farming tradition starts at home
By Ty Bannerman
Sarah Montgomery holds an ear of corn in each hand.
"These look like two ears of white corn to most people," she says. "But they're totally different."
Montgomery is the founder and director of The Garden’s Edge, a nonprofit that promotes sustainable agriculture within the state and in Guatemala. A central piece of that puzzle is preserving an ancient farming technique that's endangered: seed saving.
The corn in her left hand is Hopi, she explains, a dry land variety from New Mexico. "Farmers plant it far underground to get the moisture, and the seed is adapted to getting rained on only a few times a year." The other ear is Guatemalan. It's the Hopi corn's opposite, she explains, which is eager to soak up tropical rains and moisture. "Each one is adapted to its particular bioregion."
In May, Alibi’s Midnight Movie Madness at Guild Cinema screened James Nguyen’s brilliant bit of cinematic madness Birdemic: Shock and Terror. The film continues to mesmerize and confuse audiences around the globe. There’s a special midnight screening at the legendary San Diego Comic-Con International this weekend, for example. But Albuquerque is doing them one better. We’re bringing back Birdemic for a special encore performance on Friday and Saturday, July 23 and 24—and we’ve got the film’s lead actress, the lovely and talented Whitney Moore, live in person. The good-natured Ms. Moore will participate in a Q&A before the film, discussing her experiences making the cult horror flick. The screening/Q&A starts at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $7 at the Guild box office (3405 Central NE). To check out the film’s mind-bending, life-altering trailer, log on to the Birdemic website.
Sequel should please fans who like it smart and sleazy
By Devin D. O’Leary
Occasionally, I run into upstanding, straight-laced, middle-American citizens who question my ability to view horror films. “How can you watch those horrible things?” they ask. Oddly enough, I’ve noticed those are the exact same people heaping praise on Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy (the massively popular The Girl ... book series). The books are basically “CSI” crossed with TheSilence of the Lambs with a touch of The Da Vinci Code-style conspiracy theory thrown in for good measure. Believe me, there’s enough sick and twisted stuff going on in Larsson’s books to fill the next couple of Saw films. And yet, literate, quietly conservative older Americans who would never pay to see a slasher film don’t seem to bat an eye at any of Larsson’s grisly goings-on, turning the books into bestsellers and the subsequent films into box office hits.
Thanks to a generation of lazy television executives, it’s hard to tell what the term “reality” really means. We have reality shows (“The Osbournes”), reality competition shows (“American Idol”), docu-reality shows (“Deadliest Catch”) and uncategorizable, clearly scripted crapola that masquerades as reality (“The Hills”). All of which just begs the question: “What is real?”
Some people just get it wrong. If the boys of Roñoso were walking down the street, mothers would pitch their babies into traffic before exposing them to the gnarly dreadlocks and general scruffiness of Greg (bass, vocals), Miles (guitar, vocals) and Mike (drums). I don’t want to blow their cover, but despite gutwrenching vocals and heavy crustcore music, the three are some of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. Time and again I’ve seen Roñoso volunteer for the sacrificial opening slot so touring bands can play to the larger late-arriving crowd.
Kurt Russell is Snake in John Carpenter’s early ’80s dystopian portrayal of 1997, Escape From New York. Mods dance before a psychedelic background below him. What it all means is unclear. The facts are this: On Wednesday, July 28, at 8 p.m. lo-fi electro synthpop band The Gatherers releases an album titled Kurt Russell. Opening for the Burque band are Portland, Ore. electro acts Fleshtone and Prizm (learn more about the latter in this week’s Song Roulette). The all-ages show happens at The Kosmos (1715 Fifth Street NW). Admission is $5. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Prizm is an electro fantasy trio from Portland, Ore., inspired by prog, krautrock and other synth-heavy ’70s creations. Its show combines sound design and a collage of projections, conjuring otherly realms. Along with Fleshtone, an electronic collaborative also from Portland, the group opens for The Gatherers’ album release at The Kosmos (1715 Fifth Street NW) on Wednesday, July 28, at 8 p.m. Admission for the all-ages show is $5. Find out what’s refracted in Kim, Jef and Azmo’s music library through these five randomly selected tracks.
A teacher struggles to educate in Juárez, where extortion is the cost of doing business
By Patrick Lohmann
A small paper sign posted near the door is all that signals there's a school inside this small, yellowed house in south Juárez. Trinidad Vasquez teaches English here with the shades drawn. Inside, he leads four of his youngest students through a scenario involving paying the phone bill in English. Vasquez’ eyes dart to the door when he hears a car horn, a siren, a shout. “OK, on to the next one,” he says to his class, “calling the utility company.”
Dudes, I'm serious when I say "skinny tires." The velocipede between my legs is a single-speed street bike, so when someone suggested I get off the asphalt, I was like, ew. But then I was all, hmm. I've never been mountain biking ever. Why? It’s scary. I'm not x-treem enough. I could fall into a cholla or succumb to derailleur angst. And dirt and granite just tend to clash with my cute spandex threads.
Dateline: India—Six factory workers were killed after they fell into a giant vat of tomato sauce and drowned in the Uttar Pradesh region of northeastern India. The industrial accident happened at the Akansha Food Products plant in Lucknow on Wednesday, July 14, when a female worker who was scooping up fermented vegetables slipped off a ladder and fell into the 10-foot-deep tank. “When the woman fell in, the other workers jumped in to help her,” Rajiv Krishna, Lucknow’s Senior Superintendent of Police, told the Indian Express. The five colleagues who jumped into the tank to help the drowning woman were quickly overcome by fumes from the fermented vegetables. All six drowned. Two other workers, overcome by the fumes, were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. The factory owner was taken into custody, the Indian Express said.
Like a bad penny, the idea of expanding the Convention Center keeps coming back. Mayor Richard Berry says he's neutral on the concept, but at least seven city councilors seem hell-bent on acquiring land at the First Baptist Church site to build the $400 million project. The Council voted on June 21 to urge the Berry administration to share the site with APS, despite the fact that no vote has been taken on the so-called arena project.
One of the coolest things about being me is the amount of stuff people tell me. Sometimes it’s off the record, even though it’s not juicy/verifiable/interesting enough to be on the record. Occasionally the gossip is so good the whole down-low thing makes me want to scream. Most of the time the information I get is somewhere in the middle of these two extremes and totally shareable. Generally, this kind of stuff is sent via e-mail with the words “for immediate release” in big, bold and sometimes italic letters at the top. It’s maybe not the most exciting, but some of those e-mails actually include the interesting stuff. Let’s open the vault.
Shhh ... don’t tell Santa Fe, but the Chamber Music Festival comes here, too
By Patricia Sauthoff
Musically, Albuquerque is kind of a metal town. Last week there was a full page of ads in the Alibi for rockin’ shows by Korn, Rob Zombie, Scorpions, Tesla, Slayer, Megadeth and Testament. Show me your horns!
Imagine you found yourself transcribing thousands of pages of interviews with some of the key figures of an important American movement. Would you just ship them off to the Library of Congress to be archived and maybe, someday, found by someone else? Or, would you compile and edit them into an easy-to-read compendium of voices that shaped an era?
Nothing beats the sugary fragrance of tender, fried dough. The doughnut is a pastry made to be eaten fresh—best with morning coffee or tea. I decided to seek out Albuquerque shops dedicated to the glazed, sprinkled, filled and frosted treats, and found only four independent shops competing with four Dunkin' Donuts and two Krispy Kreme locations.
Commercial salads these days seem designed for people who don't like salad. They're essentially meat entrées served on a bed of leaves, minus the baked potato. And if you watch a server removing plates from the table, you'll see they usually aren't empty. The cold cuts, cheese, croutons, shrimp and/or chicken are gone, but the greenery is left behind like an abandoned garnish. The very fact that the proteins and fat are presented on top, rather than mixed in, seems to ensure an errant leaf won’t be inadvertently consumed.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?").