True-life historical drama teaches, preaches, with lots of speeches
By Devin D. O’Leary
The Conspirator is one of those terribly well-intentioned films that crops up every so often, courting Oscar bonhomie and preaching to the choir of progressive-minded audience members. Like tomato juice, it’s probably quite good for you—but it’s not much of a treat
A big thanks to Showcase participants and attendees
Winners and nominees—23 of them— rocked over a thousand attendees at five venues on March 24, 2018. It was a blast and we’ll see you at next year’s shindig. Here for posterity (and your browsing pleasure) are the winners and runners-up.
Experiments in Cinema v6.3 got underway Wednesday, April 13, at Guild Cinema. The annual festival of experimental film/video—curated by UNM’s Bryan Konefsky—continues through Sunday, April 17 at both the Guild and UNM’s SouthWest Film Center. On Thursday, April 14, however, the festival takes a detour to the National Hispanic Cultural Center for an evening of events from 6 to 9 p.m. A collection of Spanish video art will be on display in the NHCC’s main gallery. In addition, the center will host the premiere of a new live work by Spanish experimental filmmaker / installation artist Rafaël. (He must be good, he’s only got one name.) Capping off this evening of fine experimental art displays will be an after-party at The Normal Gallery (1415 Fourth Street SW), featuring some awesome projections by local arts org Basement Films. All of the events on Thursday are free and open to the public.
It’s no secret at this stage of the game that the madmen (and women) behind Cartoon Network’s long-running Adult Swim programming block like the weird stuff. They regularly air shows like “Squidbillies,” “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” and “Superjail!” Now, they’ve teamed up with members of the Pittsburgh, Pa. / Providence, R.I. art collective Paper Rad to open up the cage and let loose their newest animated freak show, “Problem Solverz.”
Japanese Kitchen is doing something right. The well-established restaurant has barley a glimpse of street view—and from Americas Parkway, at that. Buried in a nondescript business cluster across Louisiana from ABQ Uptown, Japanese Kitchen is spread between two kitty-cornered buildings that are separated by a shaded plaza. Despite their near-invisibility, Japanese Kitchen’s sushi bar and steakhouse get quite busy—even rowdy at times, especially in the teppan corner.
Joey Limas—he was never anything but Joey to me—resided in an Albuquerque nursing home, and I was positive I would see him again. Sure, he was 78 or 82 years old, depending on the source. But in my mind he was still tough as cactus. Then suddenly he was gone, bested by a flurry of ailments. Old prizefighters seldom meet death gently.
This column's name, Making Sausage, is a reference to a quote widely attributed to Otto von Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg. "Laws are like sausages. It's better not to see them being made." From the view in the press box in Santa Fe, running a state looks arduous and frustrating. Lawmakers volley back and forth, nitpick over details, argue, dissect, and wheel and deal. And a 60-day session doesn't come cheap: lawmakers voted to spend a max of about $8.3 million on this one.
The Joy Formidable transforms the Welsh landscape into sonic form with fuzzy guitar riffs layered over fast, heavy drum lines, with synth melodies and Ritzy Bryan’s vocals soaring over the chaos. The Joy Formidable’s U.S. tour includes a stop in New Mexico after swinging by Coachella—bringing aural Wales to the Launchpad on Wednesday, April 20.
Tesco Vee is the loudmouthed wiseacre who co-founded Touch and Go magazine and the subsequent record label. He’s also front sleazoid for The Meatmen, a band formed in Lansing, Mich., at the dawn of hardcore punk. He and his meaty minions will be making costume changes and dirty jokes at the Moonlight Lounge on Tuesday, April 19, at 8:30 p.m. Against The Grain opens the adults-only show, and $10 gets your degenerate form through the door. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Just like those old pictures of your great-great-grandpa E.T.
By Chiquita Pascal
It all started with a gas mask. Looking like a menacing bug in a suit, photographer Wes Naman (formerly on staff at the Alibi) transformed his studio into an extraterrestrial time portal, from which he made a series of spooky, rustic self-portraits.
Finding a new beloved author and devouring everything he or she has written is exciting. So is adding a book to one’s top five, wait, top 10, OK, top 20 list of “best books ever.” But sifting through bestseller lists or taking off-base recommendations from friends and family gets tiresome. And how to find the newcomers, the undiscovered gems? Issue 24 of the Blue Mesa Review offers a way.
Early spring means different things in different places. It's called mud season in some regions. Elsewhere it's the fifth month of winter grief. In warmer climes, winter can be so mild and summer so hot that spring is little more than a fleeting end of tolerable weather. But everywhere that winter is significant enough to interrupt the growing season, early spring has a special meaning among locavores. For cooks, gardeners, hunters and mead-makers alike, it's time for swapping.
Being crowned Best of Burque is akin to jumping an elephant of quality through the fickle, flaming hoop of popularity. It’s a tough act. There are tens of thousands of votes cast by our readers at alibi.com—and after the dust settles, the winners that remain truly deserve to take a bow.
Utility reps and public advocates trade blows on rate increase
By Sam Adams
PNM said it needed more cash—now. In the middle of a battle to raise prices overall, the electric company asked for part of that increase as soon as last week. But opponents stopped the measure in its tracks.
Rio Rancho’s chip-manufacturer is asking the state for a significant revision to its air permit just in case the plant wants to expand. This request highlights health concerns that have been rattling around Corrales for years, as Intel sits on a bluff above the southwestern edge of the village.
Without a word and in less than a blink of an eye, councilors paid $626,000 to three law firms for defense of the city in pending litigation. The shell-out was among dozens of other items on the consent agenda at the short April 4 meeting.
For those of us trapped in the 8-to-5 grind, there is nothing more luxurious than sleeping in on Saturday morning and awakening to the twittering birds and the clear sunlight filtering through the window. Pure bliss, right?
The elephant in the living room isn’t always metaphorical. In the multi-award-winning new documentaryThe Elephant in the Living Room, that burly beast is all too real. The film is written, produced and directed by Michael Webber—who, oddly enough, produced the Christian horror films Thr3e and House. Webber’s new film examines the controversial practice of keeping dangerous exotic animals as pets (and we aren’t talking ferrets here). Webber’s film concentrates largely on two people. One is Tim Harrison, a man who’s mission is to protect exotic animals and the public. The other is Terry Brumfield, a big-hearted guy who struggles to keep two pet African lions that he loves like family. The film will have its local premiere at the KiMo Theatre (423 Central NW) on Friday, April 8, at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the KiMo box office or through ticketmaster.com.
Seriocomic snapshot of troubled families avoids cliché, embraces closure
By Devin D. O’Leary
There is, in certain respects, a comforting familiarity to Win Win. In a nutshell, it tells the inspirational story of a middle-class family that adopts a troubled young high schooler who proves to be preternaturally adept at sports. If you think that sounds an awful lot like the synopsis for Sandra Bullock’s Academy Award-winning vehicle The Blind Side, you are correct, sir. Despite structural similarities, though, Win Win quickly strikes out on its own path, becoming something unexpectedly great in the process.
Once upon a time, American Movie Classics was the lesser cousin of Turner Classic Movies. It delineated its slim territory on the basic cable roster by playing 20-plus-year-old movies that were rarely considered classics and often not even categorizable as American. In the last few years, though, the network has built a reputation for creating some groundbreaking TV series.
See that thing on the left center of this flyer that looks like a fuzzy squiggle? It says “Impaled Offering,” which is the gory name of a metal band playing with Torture Victim, Echoes of Fallen and Loknar at the Launchpad on Monday, April 11, beginning at 8 p.m. ($4 for those 21-and-over). Why some bands choose to create illegible typefaces confuses me more than algebra. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
We’ve all driven by the huge sign on Central, east of Louisiana, that looks like it’s from ’40s Vegas and promises “Western Dancing” and “Ladies Special Drink Prices.” I passed it countless times before I realized the sign wasn’t just a leftover landmark and there was actually a building to go with it. The country nightclub Caravan East is set back from the street, behind a field of pitted asphalt. Asking acquaintances for details on the place yielded warnings of sleazy characters, grimy ambience and prevalent violence. The general consensus was if you weren’t already a regular, you should not set foot in the place—you’d most likely get your ass kicked.
Music is a workout motivator second only to the thought of looking svelte and fabulous in swimwear. To help you get pumped, Music Editor Jessica Cassyle Carr shares a mix of her old dance party favorites that doesn't involve the shudder-inducing sonic foolishness often found on other workout mixage. Enjoy.
In the personnel list on his latest album, The Gate (Concord Music), his credit reads: “Kurt Elling—Voice.” It’s an appropriate choice because Elling plays his voice the way an instrumentalist plays his ax.
Baseball wasn't always played by steroid-addled freaks. Babe Ruth hit more than 700 home runs and was drunk, smoking a cigar, eating a hot dog and cavorting with underage prostitutes the whole time. And that was just on the field. Lots of people say it’s boring, but they’re wrong. It’s a game of anticipation.
Some people hear the word “poetry” and flash back to that grueling week in middle school whern they were forced to dissect and memorize Carl Sandburg’s “Fog.” If that’s you, this month offers a good excuse to reassess: We’re in the first few of a whole 30 days devoted to imaginative, rhythmic, lyrical expression.
The typical formula for theatergoing is pretty simple in the States: You buy a ticket, are ushered to a seat, eat your Toblerone, watch the show and are ushered out. Aside from clapping, the experience is about as interactive as a game of solitaire.
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak for centenarian filmmaker
By Devin D. O’Leary
You don’t see a lot of films coming out of Portugal these days. I doubt you ever did. Filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira is from Portugal, though. He’s directed something in the neighborhood of 50 features over the course of his long career—meaning he could be responsible for a measurable percentage of his country’s filmic output. His first was in 1942. His last was this very year. I’ve never heard of any of them, and I doubt you have either. But the guy’s some kind of legend, having written and directed The Strange Case of Angélica—hitting select theaters in America right now—at the record-breaking age of 101.
It’s been a crazy week, but we finally waded through all the entries to the Alibi’s eighth annual Photo Contest and selected the winners.
The same three-dude panel who brought you the results of the first annual Villanelle Contest returned to judge the pics. Alibi Copy Editor Sam Adams has a photography degree, so he was a no-brainer. Calendars Editor Adam Fox and I, John Bear the Arts and Literature editor, have no such qualifications, only massive amounts of opinion to spread around.
A warm autumn evening, 1996. I was sitting on the front porch of the venerable Stanford House, home and hangout to various musicians from Word Salad, Logical Nonsense and Hell Hath No Fury. We were waiting for some Green Party mayoral candidate. “We” being the collective nonentity known as Rebel Radio, comprised of various activists, anarchists, musicians, freaks and weirdos.
Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong didn’t single-handedly invent jazz, but without him, it might have passed away in the cradle. Award-winning Santa Fe trumpeter and educator Jan McDonald has for decades been riding a wave of inspiration generated by a live Armstrong performance that he witnessed at age 10 in Des Moines.
Ben Wood plays banjo in The Porter Draw. He’s also a woodworker and projectionist, knows how to grow a fine mustache, and is descended from Jewish cowboys in Arizona from way back when. Below are five random tracks from his music library.
Out-of-towners The Anchor and Fiction Reform perform with local punkers Stabbed in Back, Adam Hooks & His Hangups and Emergency Ahead. The first three of the five bands are playing the Way Out West Fest in Tucson, Ariz., hence the show’s moniker, “Quest for W.O.W. Fest!” (Which could easily be confused with a gathering of massively multiplayer online role-playing gamer dorks.) Bands play for the win at Amped (4200 Lomas NE) on Wednesday, April 6, at 6 p.m. Admission to the all-ages show is seven gold.
A gallery dedicated to super-cooled molten sand in all its glory
By Christie Chisholm
Troy Lowe and Brian Burge were tired of head shops. For years, the two glassblowers made pipes because they were more marketable than pendants and marbles and the odd art piece. But the primary venues for selling their work were stores that specialized in drug paraphernalia, and it didn’t feel like a good fit. “We didn’t like being in there,” says Lowe. “It was kind of seedy.”
Virginia Maria Romero designed the first conservation stamp aimed at the wolf. Wolves are dog-like creatures that ranchers like to shoot. Romero will be on hand at Bookworks (4022 Rio Grande NW) on Thursday, March 31, at 7 p.m. to sign special copies of the stamp for $20. The same night, Craig Chapman from the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance will discuss service opportunities found in the2011 Wild Guide, a book that features information on guided hikes in remote places in New Mexico. The book can help you find environmental volunteer work, be it restoring trout habitats or planting native vegetation. It’s nice to live in such a beautiful state. Help keep it that way.
Albuquerque may finally be coming out of its recession. That’s the belief of Forest City Covington, LLC, the force behind mega housing project Mesa del Sol. After a three-year delay in building the first phase, the company's finally broken ground.
Experiments in Cinema v6.3—Basement Films and the UNM Department of Cinematic Arts’ annual celebration of all things filmy and mind-bending—gets underway in earnest April 13 through 17. There will be a sneak peek this Sunday, April 3, however, at the historic KiMo Theatre in Downtown Albuquerque. This one-off screening from 1 to 3 p.m. will feature regional youth films. Artistic director Bryan Konefsky has chosen a selection of experimental student shorts to kick off this year’s festivities. Admission for this special pre-fest event is free. Log on to the Experiments website for information on all the upcoming films, workshops and parties.
It began with an ill-timed joke. Comedian Gilbert Gottfried, who has served as the squawking voice of the Aflac duck in television commercials since 2000, rather unwisely posted a couple of one-liners to his Twitter account right after the tsunami hit Japan. Sample joke: “I was talking to my Japanese real estate agent. I said ‘is there a school in this area.’ She said ‘not now, but just wait.’ ” On an offensive scale of 1 to 10, that’s about a 5. On a funny scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 3.5, tops.
It’s a funny thing about specialties of the house: Sometimes they’re the only thing on the menu worth eating. Other times, as is the case at Thai Cuisine, the specialty isn’t my favorite. In this instance, it’s kind of like a wide-noodled pho with pink broth.
Shopping at Talin is an adventure. There are so many items I’ve never seen before—especially produce—that I often buy fruit identified only by the label on the bin. When I get home, I look it up in The Cook’s Thesaurus: foodsubs.com.