Stories as old as the hills
Give thanks for these spiritual sites
How the West was fun
Mostly stranger than fiction
Absolutely worth pulling over for
Things that make you go ... Meh
Rest in peace, famous dead Americans
I should not be writing this column. I should be speeding away from Albuquerque with the windows down and the music loud. I’ve got the travel part of this gig down. Now for the writing.
Cutting our way to the future won’t work
Rey Garduño, speaking from his place on the City Council dais, asked, “Why are we decimating libraries?” He characterized the situation as “disheartening.”
Our “7 Wonders”-themed Summer Guide feature would be remiss without a tour of New Mexico’s most infamous watering holes. While you’re out exploring this enchanting state of ours, remember to spend a few hours planted on a well-worn barstool. You’re bound to learn a story or two and pick up a little local color—not to mention the potential friends (or enemies) you’ll acquire along the way. Bottoms up!
The first graduating class of UNM’s innovative Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media Program (IFDM) is about to show off some of its magic. Students in the program have spent most of the last year working on a 30-minute short called “Haley.” The impressive-looking sci-fi-oriented film follows an ass-kicking father who must hunt a group of thugs through a post-apocalyptic wasteland after his young daughter is kidnapped. Most of the shooting was accomplished at the old Albuquerque Railyard and the local arm of Sony Pictures Imageworks even pitched in to help out with some digital special effects. The film will have its premiere this Friday beginning at 8 p.m. at the KiMo Theatre (423 Central NW). Admission is free, but seating is limited—so get there early. You can check out a trailer of the film at the official Haley website. Congratulations to all involved and good luck on future endeavors!
A low-key Will Ferrell dips his toe in the melancholy suburbs of Raymond Carver
While fellow funnymen Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Jack Black are content to stay in their comfort zones making the same mainstream, man-boy chucklefests over and over, Will Ferrell at least gets credit for trying something new now and again. Of late, he started his own Internet comedy channel (funnyordie.com), briefly replaced Steve Carell on “The Office” and even took over for Ad-Rock in a Beastie Boys video. Now, the ubiquitous comedian is headlining an intriguing little indie dramedy called Everything Must Go.
“The Looney Tunes Show” on Cartoon Network
Change is scary. So it’s not surprising to see people scared, confused and downright rassafrassin’ angry over the prospect of Warner Bros. applying a reboot to the ass of venerable cartoon series Looney Tunes. “The Looney Tunes Show” attempts to rebrand Bugs Bunny and pals for a new generation—by putting them in a standard TV sitcom format. It sounds downright sacrilegious. (“Rape my childhood, will you ?!?” as one online pundit put it.) But it’s probably not as bad as you’re imagining. In fact, it may be the best thing to happen to these characters in a generation.
The Week in Sloth
Q: What’s better than basking in the sunshine, sipping a cool drink and snacking on a delicious picnic lunch with good company?
An interview with Mogwai frontman Stuart Braithwaite
Glasgow's Mogwai has been hypnotizing its audiences with elaborate, spaced-out, guitar-driven dirges since the mid-'90s. This week, on tour in support of its wryly titled 2011 Sub Pop release Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, the cosmic post rock band pays New Mexico a visit. Over the phone, the band's thickly accented frontman Stuart Braithwaite and I discussed recording techniques, favorite concert locales and distortion pedals.
Shoulder Voices on Shoulder Voices
Shoulder Voices is just that. An angel on one side, a devil on the other, murmuring in your ear. And it’s difficult to tell which is offering temptation and which is advising caution.
The Bricklight Underground Merchants' Association is getting a jump on the season by presenting a daylong block party on Friday, May 13. The theme, of course, is “13”—13 percent off at Cellar Door Gifts & Gallery and Free Radicals Clothes & Crap. Thirteen bucks will get you some ink from All Is One Tattoo or a dress from Frock Star Vintage. Look for deals at Bricklight Dive, Cheba Hut and psychic Mendy Lou. Music includes Jakob Insane, Vertigo Venus, Sons of Gray, Domestic Violence, Beke Dragoste, 15 Polk St., Slik 50 and even karaoke. This is your lucky day. (Captain America)
Santa Fe’s Meow Wolf presents a massive interactive installation
The Due Return, an intergalactic ship 75 feet long and 25 feet across at its widest point, has landed in an alien environment. While traveling through time and space for two centuries, the vessel and its crew collected artifacts, images and stories from many universes. Ten rooms house the haul of 200 years of exploration. The ship has been stationed in TD-31, the 31st dimensional space, for several years now, and its occupants have learned how to live in the foreign land. Glowing trees, pulsating creatures and ancient cave dwellings are some of the mysteries of this world.
Readers of last week’s Culture Shock know that I’m replacing the intrepid John Bear as Arts and Lit editor. It’s a pleasure to jump right into his scuffed and holey shoes (that’s for you, John) and, as one of my first projects, announce our annual Flash Fiction Contest. I encourage every writer and would-be writer in the area to take an hour, get that very short story that’s brewing in your brain down on paper and send it my way. The top four entries will be published in this here paper, and winners will get cool prizes, like books and gift certificates. Keep your submissions to 119 words and email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You’re not alone if you hear the word “Idaho” and your brain replies “potatoes,” but I am going to let you in on a little secret. Recently coerced into a trip to Boise (long story), I discovered it is actually a very cool little city. The locals we met were friendly, stopping what they were doing to have long chats with us. Cabbies were cheerful and gave unsolicited, but appreciated, history lessons. Beautiful brick buildings from the late-19th and early-20th centuries comprise the downtown, and street art—some municipally sanctioned—is prevalent. The compact city center is host to dozens of independent coffee shops, restaurants and bars, many using local ingredients. One of my favorite (and weirdest) discoveries was that the Bittercreek Alehouse—besides offering delicious local food and brews in a classy atmosphere, keeps a huge worm farm in the basement where almost all of the waste of the establishment is recycled.
Burque native Saywut?! preps for an international tour with CocoRosie and a move to Brooklyn
Students seek Gay-Straight Alliance
Starting a new club at Clovis High School is usually a routine process: Fill out forms, get approval from the administration, find members and establish meetings. All of this seemed to be going well for Steven De Los Santos, who spearheaded a Gay-Straight Alliance at Clovis High School—until administration postponed approval.
Demonstrators from around the state gathered on a cold, windy afternoon in Clovis, N.M., to show support for LGBT student rights.
Did UNM’s top dog sucker the regents into paying him too much?
With President David Schmidly’s late-April declaration that he will be stepping down next year, the time has come to contemplate what kind of pay might be appropriate for future UNM administrators.
Public broadcasting breathes a sigh of relief
Albuquerque City Council will once again feature adoptable shelter animals. At the Monday, May 2 meeting, two dogs and a cat were shown via photos instead of being brought into the Council chambers, as they used to be under Councilor Sally Mayer. Either way, it is good to have the furry friends back.
It is time once again for me to bid you, my fair reader, adieu.
I am moving back to Oklahoma, a state apparently bent on my destruction. I had some great tornado jokes lined up for this column—real grade-A material.
Alas, I woke up the other morning and the damn things had laid waste to most of Alabama. Severe weather humor is horribly inappropriate at this particular juncture.
So we’ll skip the tornado jokes.
An exceptional pair of plays
Take two of the city’s finest actors, shake them together with an inspired and masterful theater company, slather on a large dollop of Academy Award-winning talent, and the chances you’ll end up with something satisfying and delectable are all but guaranteed. Such is the case with Mother Road Theatre Company’s newest offering, Virtual Reality.
An inconclusive report on the lifestyles of the rich and famous
New Visions / New Mexico Contract Award-winning filmmaker Federico Reade and community activist Richard Moore (founding member of the Black Beret organization) will discuss their documentary-in-progress American Blowback: New Mexico’s Black Berets on Thursday, May 5. The presentation will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at Los Jardines Community Space (803 La Vega SW) and will be hosted by Bianca Encinias of the Southwest Network for Environmental Justice. The film focuses on the historic Chicano movement here in New Mexico and was a recent winner of a New Visions / New Mexico Contract Award from the state.
Wishy-washy romantic comedy will leave you blue
“Game of Thrones” vs. “Camelot”
It’s good to be the king. Or is it? Given the wealth of information available in fantasy literature, it seems like being the king is a lousy job. Take two new pay-cable series as evidence: HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and Starz’ “Camelot.”
The Week in Sloth
Old soul presents music from new album
One Wednesday night last summer, guitarist/vocalist John Maestas, bassist/vocalist Asher Barreras and drummer Enrique Chavez were hanging at Vernon’s Jazz Club, each looking to get up and play with saxophonist Doug Lawrence in the weekly jam. Lawrence called them to the stage at the same time, and something clicked.
A little something for everyone
After my last mission to find Downtown dance parties [“Aural Fixation: A Quest For Thursday Night’s Ultimate Downtown Dance Party,” Feb. 24-March 2] I was anxious for another adventure—this time seeking out Nob Hill’s live music scene and dance parties.
Lovers is a Portland synth pop act made of three super-talented ladies (find downloads for a couple of songs here: bit.ly/portlandlovers). The trio is in the midst of a massive U.S. tour and stops in at Burt’s Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW) on Monday, May 9. Animals in the Dark opens the free, 21-and-over show at 10 p.m. Find out what Lovers loves below, where vocalist Carolyn Berk has put her MP3 player on random shuffle.
Three easy asparagus recipes your mamma will love
Those little trophies are heavy. They must weigh about 15 pounds, laughs Melissa Sanchez. She should know. She helped organize their arrival in Albuquerque for a presentation at the Gathering of Nations this year.
Parties, exhibits, markets and more around Albuquerque
Symposium pitches nuclear energy in New Mexico
Do you work as a below-the-line crew member in the New Mexico film industry? Are you a grip looking to make that big career leap to best boy? If so, you might want to pay attention to a meeting scheduled for this Saturday, April 30, in Santa Fe. Tobi Ives of the New Mexico Film Office will be conducting a “review’ of the New Mexico crew programs available to below-the-line crew. Learn how you can take advantage of the Film Crew Advancement Program, discuss upcoming policy changes and review the pre-employment training program. As things stand, FCAP allows production companies to be reimbursed 50 percent of a qualifying crew member’s wages in a “specialized craft position.” The meeting will take place from 10 a.m. to noon at the Center for Justice & Progress (1420 Cerrillos Road, next to the IATSE 480 union office).
We get heroic with Super filmmaker James Gunn
James Gunn started out his career writing the trashtacular 1996 Troma film Tromeo and Juliet. By 2002, he was penning the family-friendly hit Scooby-Doo for Warner Bros. In between, he found time to script the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. He’s currently racing around the country promoting his latest writing/directing effort Super. In it, a pathetic fry cook adopts the mantle of a violent superhero after his wife dumps him for someone more interesting. Though shot on a shoestring budget, the film boasts an impressive cast, including Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Kevin Bacon and Liv Tyler.
We got your royal wedding coverage covered
If you’re like me and completely sick of all the royal wedding coverage dominating the television airwaves in the last couple of weeks, you’ll be happy to know it all ends this Friday. If, on the other hand, you can’t get enough of diamond tiaras, hand-embroidered ivory wedding dresses and horse-drawn carriages, then rest assured it’s all coming to a head this Friday. Either way, you win.
The Week in Sloth
Your guide to the three-night Native music festival
Dance, meditate, muse, romance, reflect and boogie
Anyone who thinks jazz is dead is obviously not on the email lists of music publicists. Press releases for new recordings swamp the inbox daily. Here’s a handful of recent local and national releases, culled from the flood, that deserve attention.
Random tracks from North America’s Josh and Jesse Hasko
Twin brothers Josh and Jesse Hasko are the post-dance, psych rock duo North America. On Friday, April 29, the Albuquerque band hosts its spring/summer tour Push Off Party at The Kosmos (1715 Fifth Street NW). The show starts at 9 p.m., admission is $5 and The Fertile Crescent opens. Peer into the Haskos’ shared music collection via the random tracks below.
The “sheeeeeeeee ... wwwuuuhhh” of filmic astronaut breath might be among the sounds you hear at Blackbird Buvette (509 Central NW) on Tuesday, May 3, beginning at 10 p.m. The free show features the psychedelic sounds of Minneapolis’ Daughters of the Sun and local noise purveyors Luperci, Black Leaf #40 and Alan George Ledergerber. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Just in time for Gathering of Nations, Native American artists Jaque Fragua and Ryan Singer present their joint effort, Vision Quest.
New theater tandem aims for empowerment
Big things can start in small places. That’s the driving philosophy behind Albuquerque’s newest artistic foray, Rainbow Studio Theater Company.
Taos author settles on northern California for her sophomore effort
Summer Wood’s novel Wrecker is set in the heart of Humboldt County, Calif. But don’t let the location fool you. It’s not about that.
Flavorful forks in the road
Though the plating and presentation of the food at Café Trang is classy, the place has a no-nonsense pragmatism that’s just as pronounced. The walls of the clean, open dining room are nearly barren, sending the message that all artistry is reserved for the food. And the drink options are at the top of the menu, rather than the bottom where they’re usually found—a refreshing bit of sensibility given that your drink order is the first thing the server asks of you.
Seasonal microbrews flower around the city
This fine spring weather we’re in the midst of brings out mixed feelings in me. On one hand, I enjoy the freedom to stroll the University and Nob Hill areas without the need to dress like a Sherpa. On the other hand, I’m forced to see a parade of Don Schrader dress-alikes maneuvering their long boards down Harvard. It’s enough to make me forego the sunshine in favor of a dark corner of the nearest brewpub, where our locals are ready and waiting with new beers for the season.