Alibi V.20 No.4 • Jan 27-Feb 2, 2011

Biutiful

Or Mizerabel—depends on how you look at it

Uxbal is a poor, single father struggling to raise two young children in inner-city Barcelona. In an attempt to make ends meet, he works as a low-rent criminal, arranging “business” deals between Chinese bootleggers and illegal African immigrants who sell knockoff merchandise. He’s also dying of terminal prostate cancer. ... Oh, and he’s a psychic who can talk to the dead.

feature

APS School Board

It’s not an election that makes more than a small blip or two on the public’s radar. Turnout is notoriously low. But 2011 sees our public school systems facing enormous stress that could force them to change course long-term.

CNM Governing Board

UNM Regents get all the attention. You rarely hear about the CNM Governing Board, even though the school now has more undergraduates than any other higher education institution in the state. Seven elected members sit on the board for four-year terms and represent districts from Bernalillo and Sandoval Counties. They determine all policies that govern the large college. This year, Districts 2 (Southeast and Northeast Heights), 4 (South Valley and Southeast Heights) and 6 (near Northeast Heights, North Valley and Corrales) are on the ballot.

film

Reel World

Awesome independent movie rental shop Burning Paradise Video recently relocated from its Downtown Albuquerque location to the Bricklight District across from UNM. To celebrate the brand-new store (located at 115 Harvard SE, Suite 2), Burning Paradise is having a rockin’ grand opening celebration on Friday, Jan. 28. In addition to a 15 percent discount on in-store purchases all day long, free food and drinks will be served at 5 p.m., then Vertigo Venus and Dead On Point Five make with the live music. As if that weren’t enough, the store will hand out super-cool movie-related door prizes all night. To qualify for the swag, just take a photo of yourself standing next to BP’s sidewalk zombie and upload it to the store’s fan page on Facebook.

Sitcom(fortable)

“Retired at 35” on TV Land

TV Land, like all cable networks these days, is chafing at its very premise. Conceived as a repository of classic TV shows—from “Bonanza” to “The Andy Griffith Show” to “I Dream of Jeannie”—the channel now wants to get in on all the cheap reality shows and easy-to-produce sitcoms of rival networks. Having broken new sitcom ground with the popular “Hot in Cleveland,” TV Land has now unveiled a companion piece in the similarly sitcomy “Retired at 35.”

art

Culture Shock

Sean Christopher Lewis says he came to Philadelphia after graduate school to work at a local theater company. While he was in town, he was asked to participate in the mural program at Graterford Prison. The inmates, mostly people serving life sentences, constructed murals on cloth that were hung around the city.

Mulligan Stew

Adobe Theater’s The Playboy of the Western World

People get famous for all kinds of stupid reasons. Look no further than Snooki and Kim Kardashian for bewildering proof. It’s human nature, perhaps, to be fascinated by extremes, whether they come in the form of money, personality, emotion or action. This is the concept that fuels John Millington Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World.

news

A Toxic Mess

The city’s decision to curb the use of Albuquerque Police Department’s cruisers after hours continues to overshadow City Council meetings. At the Wednesday, Jan. 19 meeting, a dozen or so police officers were present again, many wearing “A Berry Bad Mistake” T-shirts.

We Don’t Need No Education

CNM faces record enrollment and record cuts

Susana Martinez, new governor and new to governance, submitted her proposal for the state budget in early January. Her recommendation makes cuts across the board, but some of the deepest hit Central New Mexico Community College, where I am a member of the English faculty.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Germany—Der Spiegel newspaper reports that police in the southwestern German city of Pforzheim arrested an owl for public drunkenness. “A woman walking her dog alerted the police after seeing the bird sitting by the side of the road oblivious to passing traffic,” police spokesperson Frank Otruba told the newspaper. The common brown owl did not appear to be injured, but officers concluded that the bird was drunk based on his sleepy appearance and the presence of two discarded liquor bottles. “It wasn't staggering around and we didn't breathalyze it,” said Otruba. “But there were two little bottles of Schnapps in the immediate vicinity.” The bird was taken to a local wildlife expert for treatment. Police said the bird would be released on his own recognizance once he sobered up.

music

Rocking the Cradle

An interview with Dani Filth

Man, I’m going to take a rash of shit for this one, I can just feel it. But it’s not every day that one gets the opportunity to have a phone chat with the most famous metal midget on the face of the Earth, so I grabbed it. What can I say?

George Winston

Solo pianist plays well with others

You can hear Montana in the piano of Grammy-winner George Winston—the open space, the stillness, the wild scents on the wind. Though several decades removed from his Montana boyhood, Winston still clearly recalls the feel of each of the four seasons up in the north country, and those sense memories continue to animate his compositions and performances. They’ve long since been interwoven with a world of musical and geographical influences—from New Orleans pianist Professor Longhair to Hawaiian slack-key guitarist Gabby Pahinui, from jazz pianist/composer Vince Guaraldi to The Doors.

Song Roulette

Ghost Circles’ Dave Jordan

Dave Jordan is a guitarist and vocalist for “nerdy, but heavy” local act Ghost Circles. On Friday the band is throwing a party at the Launchpad for “Ultimate Nullifier”—an EP released last month. The band plays alongside fellow purveyor of heavy music Sandia Man (which will be releasing a full-length album at the show as well). To get a feel for Ghost Circles’ constitution, we asked Jordan to set his music library to “random.” Below are the first five songs that surfaced.

food

Not Your Roommate’s Ramen

Fresh noodles hit the spot at Talin’s bar

Talin’s humble beginnings in a narrow shop on Central and Wyoming bear little resemblance to the ethnic supermarket that now anchors the complex at Louisiana and Central. There you’ll also find Café Trang, Bahn Mi Coda (formerly Lee's Bakery), Bubble Tea & Coffee and a Subway franchise.

Desert Fish

So fresh, you’ll feel the sand between your toes

“Je ne sais quoi” is an overused phrase, and I’m as guilty as anyone—usually with a terrible, dramatic French accent. At Desert Fish, for once, I said it appropriately.

Alibi V.20 No.3 • Jan 20-26, 2011

The French Laundry

Extreme dining in California's Napa Valley

One of the finest events I’ll ever experience began with the following words:

feature

Madame Chairman

When closing the gender divide, an elected woman’s work is never done

The number of female legislators in New Mexico is at a record high—30 percent going into the 2010 elections. That's higher than the national average of 24 percent, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. More women are taking on professions that tend to produce elected officials. But there's still a gender gap.

news

Guv Sued Over Eco Rules

Martinez halts dairy and greenhouse gas regulations

One of Gov. Susana Martinez’ first actions after being sworn into office on Jan. 1 was to start a controversy.

Baby Kissing and Crocodile Tears

Now that Gov. Susana Martinez has offered her first State of the State address and laid down a number of markers on her policy approach, a question remains: What do we have on our hands here to judge the moral compass of Susana Martinez?

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Canada—Police in Ontario have announced who they call their dumbest crook of 2010. According to the Chatham-Kent Police Service in southwestern Ontario, there was a home burglary late last year and police appealed for the public’s help in identifying the thief. After local media published details of the crime, Constable Michael Pearce says he reported to work and found a voicemail from a man who was upset the report wasn’t detailed enough. The unidentified man went on to say that he had stolen way more stuff than was listed and hadn’t done it alone, either. He then listed the names of two friends who helped out. “He provided a recorded confession, hurting all their chances at trial,” Pearce told the QMI news agency.

art

Culture Shock

A new version of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn takes out more than 200 instances of the n-word and replaces them with “slave.”

Miracle Wall

Waxing philosophic on Frederico Vigil’s new fresco, Kanye West and impermanence

It’s odd that we invest in stuff. Every thing we buy gets frozen in its moment, in our past, and achieves obsolescence as fast as it takes to get to the next version. Art does the same thing. And maybe that’s why we’ve become so comfortable with conceptual art, because it can feel timeless.

food

Pho Saigon

Pho for the fun family

In recent years, Albuquerque has been home to at least four Vietnamese restaurants with “Saigon” in its name. Those familiar with Vietnamese cuisine won’t be surprised, as its pool of restaurant names, by some unwritten decree, remains curiously small. So many contain the word “Pho” you’d think it was a synonym for Vietnamese food, rather than a bowl of soup.

film

Reel World

Every year about this time, adventurous film-lovers head to the mountain. The legendary Telluride MountainFilm Festival is touring the U.S. and will stop at Santa Fe’s Lensic Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Jan. 20. WildEarth Guardians will sponsor this one-night only event, which gets underway at 7 p.m. A selection of short films, the best of the annual Telluride MountainFilm Festival, will be screened. Topics run the gamut of environmental and outdoor topics—from skiing in Scotland to rock climbing in Yosemite to fly-fishing on the Kamchatka Peninsula to wave-skiing in Hawaii. The Lensic is located at 211 W. San Francisco Street. Tickets are available at the Lensic box office or through ticketssantafe.org. They’ll set you back $15.

Waste Land

Moving doc covers economy, ecology and the transformative power of art

Documentaries are, by their very nature, passive things. Their purpose is to document. On the whole, they are little more than moving portraits of long-gone people and events. Talking heads are usually there to give their recollections/impressions of the subject at hand. And if available, archival footage cements as accurate an image as possible in viewers’ minds. On rare occasion, documentaries may serve as calls-to-arms (Waiting for “Superman” or An Inconvenient Truth); but even then, the films aren’t so much active participants as persuasive pictorial essays. The only action comes from the viewers who are inspired to do something after the fact.

Mock On!

“Onion SportsDome” on Comedy Central

Trendy, franchised joke newspaper The Onion hit the big time with the book Our Dumb Century, a best-selling compilation of fake headlines and made-up news articles published in 1999. That was followed by the 2008 direct-to-video comedy feature The Onion Movie, which did nobody any good. Things are on the upswing again, though, with the debut of “Onion SportsDome” on Comedy Central and the soon-to-debut “Onion News Network” on IFC.

music

Black Rabbit

Of God and Science’s second album abounds with wandering pop

Since the beginning of time, or somewhere around then, the rabbit has been symbolically heterogeneous. Luck, innocence, fertility and trickery are all traits that surround the animal in folklore. This contrast is why Albuquerque’s Of God And Science chose the rabbit (indeed, the more mysterious black rabbit) as a mascot for a new album of mercurial compositions.

The Flesh-Eating Drone of Crocodiles

In the fall of 2009 I found myself in New Orleans again. I was celebrating a birthday and seeing shows I’d helped book for a New Mexico band. During that time, British group The Horrors was on tour and had a date at One-Eyed Jack’s, a small theater in the French Quarter. The opening act was Crocodiles, about which I knew nothing. The Horrors had recently made a shift from leather-clad garage rock to flowy-shirt post punk, and, for whatever reason, the band was clearly having a terrible night. Crocodiles, though, with buzzing guitars and indulgent disco beats, stole the show.

Flyer on the Wall

A plague befalls the Blackbird Buvette (509 Central NW) on Tuesday, Jan. 25, when DJ Caterwaul debuts a monthly, ochre-colored night known as Low Life. Expect deep psych, garage, punk, freaky rock and other sounds from his musical dungeon. The tunes begin at 9 p.m. Entry is free, but only for those of legal drinking age. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

Song Roulette

Dash Rip Rock’s Bill Davis

Bill Davis is the singer and guitar player for Dash Rip Rock—a New Orleans-based country punk band that’s been at it since 1984. The group is bringing its energetic live show to the Launchpad on Sunday, when Dash Rip Rock opens for fellow New Orleans rock outfit Cowboy Mouth. To get a peek into Davis’ music library, we asked him to put his iPod on shuffle. Below are the first five songs that appeared.

Alibi V.20 No.2 • Jan 13-19, 2011

Blue Valentine

Love hurts in this story of a marriage going south

There is a rare but certain pleasure in watching actors—or anyone, for that matter—practicing their craft for the pure, primal joy of it. Sadly, movies are a frequently adulterated art form; the creators of which spend most of their time worrying about box office results, People magazine cover stories and the crucial 15-year-old male demographic. Only on very special occasions (Oscar nomination season, for example) are actors allowed to come out of the makeup trailer and actually exercise their abilities.

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Intelligent Life

Experts share their best advice for more money, good health and a bigger brain

It’s tough out there. Our bank accounts are never as flush as we'd like. Our waistlines won't stay put. And, let's be honest, don't we all wish we were just a little bit smarter?

news

An Army of One

Veteran’s sister challenges law enforcement’s PTSD policies

Jonelle Ellis hasn’t done much public speaking. She's never been involved in politics. But for the last six months or so, she's helped create a bill and convinced legislators in Santa Fe to carry it.

Adios, Big Bill

Eight years ago this month, Bill Richardson launched what will go down as the most exhilarating roller-coaster ride of an administration in this pokey state’s century-long history.

First, a Roof

Mayor Richard Berry says homelessness is one of the most difficult challenges he's come across during his time in City Hall. "There are issues you look at as a mayor and you can say, OK. Here's a problem. Here's a linear solution." But homelessness, with its many dimensions and causes, is another story.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Malaysia—A husband in Kuala Lumpur abandoned his wife of many years after a temple priest convinced him she was a demon. The woman, who gave her name as Loh, was quoted in The Star newspaper as saying, “The medium told my husband I had been casting spells on him for the past 15 years and that I was a demon trying to kill him.” Loh said her husband, a factory manager, “refused to eat or drink at home because he thought I poisoned the food.” The husband is seeking a divorce and refuses to meet with his two teenage sons for fear that his wife will use them to kill him. According to The Star, Malaysians often seek personal and professional advice from faith healers, temple mediums and witch doctors. Increasing complaints about sexual and financial abuse, however, have prompted Malaysia’s government to consider a bill that would require mystics to register with the Ministry of Health. Loh told reporters that the priest who advised her husband was in debt and likely taking advantage of her husband, who withdrew all of their children’s savings before deserting the family.

film

Reel World

On Sunday, Jan. 16, Friends of Film, Video and Arts will host its monthly meeting. The topic is “101 things to know about set design.” Industry pros Steve Brown and Christina Bouajila will be there creating an entire set from scratch and sharing much of what they’ve learned. The meeting will take place from 3 to 5:30 p.m. at 9 Point Productions (423 San Mateo NE). The meeting—including social time, work-in-progress screenings and lecture—is free to current FFVA members or $10 for nonmembers.

Masks y Más

“The Cape” on NBC

For all the success the movie and TV industry has had in the genre, Hollywood doesn’t really understand superhero stories. The only part they get is the origin story. Once a guy puts on a mask and cape, what is there to tell? After that, it’s just people beating each other up, right? Which is why Hollywood can only seem to crank out three films in a series before “rebooting” the damn thing and telling the origin story all over again. Real comic book fans, on the other hand, know that the origin is just the excuse to get to the good stuff.

music

Music to Your Ears

When Republican Susana Martinez was elected governor in November, her transition team informed all state political appointees—otherwise known as exempt workers—that they had to resign by Gov. Richardson's last day in office. New Mexico Music Commission Director Nancy Laflin was among those who lost their jobs. The agency—which was established by Gov. Richardson in 2005 and approved by unanimous votes in the house and senate in 2009—now has no paid staff.

Fajitas, With a Side of Jazz

Tiny’s Restaurant & Lounge continues a Santa Fe musical tradition

Make no mistake. J.R. Palermo, owner of Tiny’s Restaurant & Lounge in Santa Fe, is a businessman. He’s the third generation of the place’s founding family—it was established in 1950 as Tiny’s Dine and Dance—and he continues the tradition by booking live music at the place. But the music has to carry its weight.

Flyer on the Wall

On Wednesday, Jan. 19, members of myriad local bands coalesce in an effort to produce their own special score for Clash of the Titans. Music for the film—an ’80s fantasy adventure based on Greek mythology—will be made at the Launchpad (618 Central SW) beginning at 9:30 p.m. Admission to the 21-and-over show is $3. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

Song Roulette

Jessica Billey is a talented visual artist and musician. When she’s not making beautifully spooky paintings and prints, she creates music prolifically: Billey—who played in the Mekons and backed Smog—currently plays with gothic country band The Grave of Nobody’s Darling, experimental act Lionhead Bunny, Western swing duo The Blue Rose Ramblers, a new surf band called Phantom Lake. She even occasionally performs with electronic group R0773R B0U7D3R. On Wednesday, Jan. 19, Billey appears at the Launchpad with The Grave of Nobody’s Darling as part of an ensemble of groups improvising the score for the movie Clash of the Titans. We asked the Rio Rancho resident (by way of Chicago, circa 2005) to put her music library on shuffle. Below are the first five songs that surfaced.

art

Culture Shock

Valentine’s Day is largely a corporate farce designed to sell cards, candy and conflict diamonds. If you are sans significant other, it’s guaranteed to make you feel worse about yourself.

The End of the Beginning

Young theater company reprises its first show

The Aux Dog Theatre, if no longer in its infancy, is still in its toddlerdom. It’s a young theater, and in the producer’s note to the 2011 season, Eli Browning admits that the space has struggled to stay open during its formative years.

Comic Relief

How Albuquerque got its nerd back

Fanboys rejoice.

The Albuquerque Comic Con will be the first “full-blown comic book convention” to hit Albuquerque in more than a decade, according to event organizer and Tall Tales Comics owner Jim Burleson. On Saturday, Jan. 15, and Sunday, Jan. 16, four rooms in the Hilton Albuquerque will be dedicated to gaming, vendors and panels, as well as celebrity photo ops.

food

I Love Sushi

A fish-oiled machine

In two visits to I Love Sushi, I witnessed four birthdays. Having never partied there myself, I asked a sushi chef to fill in the blanks on why the place is such a popular birthday destination.

Beers at Their Peak

A new Albuquerque brewery’s good altitude

The first words emblazoned on La Cumbre’s growlers: “La Cumbre Brewing Company is what happens when two people take one thing altogether way too seriously.”