Spectral figures clad in white float into the intersection of Fourth and Central. They carry armfuls of bones, which they deposit on the ground. As they retreat, more couriers appear and they too place dozens of skeletal pieces in the street. The cycle continues until 50,000 white offerings fill the crossroads. This is the first round of the activist art installation One Million Bones, and it happens on Saturday, Aug. 27.
We put out a call to local artists, asking them to show us how they’d redesign an Alibi distribution box. We were subsequently showered with submissions, and we spent weeks poring over drawings, sketches, digital renderings, and mad ramblings in letters and emails. Notions of every sort sloshed across our desks, fresh from the minds of our city’s creative geniuses.
Criminal justice reform may still be in the cards for New Mexico
By Marisa Demarco
Overriding a governor's veto is no easy task. In fact, it's only been accomplished twice in New Mexico since 1970. But legislators will likely attempt to do just that for a bill that aims to reduce the number of nonviolent drug offenders in jail.
When the public was given its opportunity to comment at a Medicaid redesign hearing in Albuquerque, many responded with fear and anger. “Why are you messing with this program that my family depends on so desperately?” was the message from more than 200 people who attended.
Serial killer digs Thelonious Monk in Swedish crime novel
By John Bear
Misterioso begins with a Kosovar Albanian man taking over an immigration office because he doesn't want to be deported from Sweden. It's the middle ’90s and the Swedes are apparently shipping them off in droves, even if they’ve lived there for years and consider themselves countrymen. Police officer Hjelm arrives and knows that the SWAT guys will shoot to kill, so he runs inside and shoots the perpetrator in the arm.
A totally killer schedule is in place for Albuquerque’s annual, homegrown festival of science fiction and fantasy. The theme of this year’s convention is steampunk, which we at the Alibi are crazy about [Feature, “Full Steam Ahead,” July 21-27]. There’s a costume contest on Saturday night, a discussion on “Steampunk Definitions: More Than Victorian Clothing,” a make-and-take workshop with gears, and vendors selling corsets, cloaks and all the other bits and bobs to fulfill your mechanical-wonder needs.
Among the concrete columns at University Hospital’s patient pickup/drop-off point, fresh sprouts are available at Debrilla’s Living Foods. Debrilla Ratchford is of one of the 10-odd vendors that compose UNM Hospitals’ weekly Farm Fresh on the Plaza event—a growers’ market, essentially—which goes down Wednesdays from 2 to 5 p.m. There’s fresh produce, prepared foods hot and cold, and lots of informed conversation going on.
I spend a lot of time driving around looking for individuals, restaurants, food boutiques and other businesses that sustain Albuquerque’s gustatory cravings. In this crazy economy I remain eternally hopeful, buoyed by the seemingly endless stream of entrepreneurs ready to open their doors to the Duke City. From brand-spanking new, to oldies but goodies, here are a few of my latest finds.
European road pic travels familiar path, but snaps a pretty picture
By Devin D. O’Leary
A foreign accent, an eccentric cast, some gorgeous scenery and a lighthearted joie de vivre attitude about dark subjects: These are a few of the elements necessary for constructing an art-house crowd-pleaser. Vincent Wants to Sea (Vincent Will Meer) is just such a film. Having nabbed Outstanding Feature and Best Actor at the 2011 German Film Awards (while nailing down nominations for Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Screenplay), Vincent is now pulling into America looking for easily charmed audiences.
For decades, summertime was the time for TV reruns. If you missed a few episodes of your favorite network sitcom in fall/spring, you could catch them in July. Or you could go out and play Frisbee. But these days—what with the proliferation of new cable TV stations and broadcast networks expending extra effort to create original summertime programming—reruns are hardly the hot topic. September is fast approaching, and summer is almost gone. We’re just weeks away from the debut of the fall 2011 TV season. What better time to ask the question, “What have we been watching all summer?” I’ll give you one big hint: There ain’t a lot of scripts involved.
It’s late summer, and that means it’s definitely film festival time. Everybody is lining up to curate a festival of cool independent films this time of year. We just got done with the Albuquerque Film Festival and the Native Cinema Showcase and we’re gearing up for the Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and the Truth or Consequences Film Festival. In between, we’ll just have to make due with the White Sands International Film Festival. The sixth annual WSIFF will take place Thursday, Aug. 25, through Sunday, Aug. 28, in Las Cruces. The new dramedy Refuge by award-winning playwright / Las Cruces resident Mark Medoff will start off the festival on a high note, serving as the opening night premiere. Throughout the weekend, there will be a ton of films, workshops, parties and more to keep festivalgoers busy. Val Kilmer will be on hand to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award on Friday. The Doors (1991) and Tombstone (1993) will be part of the fest’s Kilmer retrospective. Aside from that, there’s a wide range of films to choose from in the festival’s schedule—from the Native American high school track documentary Run to the East to the New Mexico-shot romantic comedy The Bigfoot Election. Screenings take place at the Cineport 10 and all-festival passes are on sale right now. They’ll run you between $25 and $75 dollars. Individual tickets can be purchased at the venue, if available.
Andy Warhol was among the most iconic and prolific visual artists of the 20th century, a highbrow and low class culture cultivator of profound influence. The pop artist is just as recognized for his soup cans or Marilyn Monroes as he is for the silver New York "Factory" where those works were produced (while his Superstars and other celebrities milled about, glamorously bored). But Warhol was also an avant-garde filmmaker, publisher, producer and dabbler in performance art. One facet of this multidimensional career was The Exploding Plastic Inevitable, a series of traveling multimedia shows that occurred between 1966 and 1967. The shows featured Warhol's films, dancing and performances by Factory regulars and house band The Velvet Underground.
Minneapolis rapper Slug (aka Sean Daley) has been at the forefront of underground rap so long it's hard for hip-hop heads to remember when Atmosphere wasn't a household name. Backed by DJ and producer Ant, Slug created a revolution of emotionally raw lyricism wherein his unbridled ego—and the defense mechanisms and underpinnings that created it—were ever-present. More than 20 years down the road, his discography is as much the soundtrack of a generation and subculture as it is a catalogue of desperate but defiant barstool poetry. In advance of a show at the Albuquerque Convention Center, Slug spoke with the Alibi.
In tribute to Norwegian deathpunk band Turbonegro, local five-piece Ass Cobra will play its first and only show at Burt’s Tiki Lounge on Friday, Aug. 26. K.C. Strangle and Skulldron open the free festivities, which begin at 10 p.m. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Albuquerque is a tough little piñon—a big old city trapped in a small town’s body. We love it here. But all of that natural splendor and quirky charm comes at a price. Mastering Albuquerque takes street smarts. If you want to thrive, first you have to survive—and finding the pitfalls is half the battle.
So, based on the most recent available data, here’s the battleground. Good luck navigating it, citizens of Burque. (Click below for our interactive Danger Map.)
Everyone knows arsenic is a poison, but did you know it's in your water too? Low levels of arsenic in your glass are naturally occurring. The Environmental Protection Agency says that drinking water must have fewer than 10 parts per billion of arsenic to prevent harmful effects of long-term exposure. According to the 2010 report by the Albuquerque Bernalillo Water Utility Authority, these water zones have as high as 8 parts of arsenic per billion. It’s worth keeping an eye on. Check your zone here: bit.ly/abqarsenicwater. (EK)
Ghost bikes are descansos (roadside memorials) that remind us of cyclists killed by vehicles. Although the New Mexico Department of Transportation documents more than 100 deaths of bicyclists in New Mexico since 1989, only 10 ghost bikes haunt Albuquerque’s streets. The Duke City Wheelmen Foundation installs ghost bikes when a friend or family notifies the group of a death. Jennifer Buntz, the group’s founder, says the Duke City Wheelman began memorializing fallen comrades in 2010. For more information on the individual memorials, how to install a ghost bike or to get involved, visit dukecitywheelmen.org. (EK)
We can't always blame it on the booze. Sometimes bad drivers are just bad drivers, particularly on Paseo del Norte. A report by UNM’s Division of Government Research breaks down the 50 worst intersections in the state based on data from 2007 through 2009. Paseo del Norte at Coors as well as at Jefferson tie for the No. 1 spots with 391 crashes apiece. Coors and Paseo is slightly more dangerous, as 118 of those crashes (or 30 percent) were fatal. (Paseo and Jefferson comes in at 110 fatalities, or 28 percent.) More intersections to steer clear of: bit.ly/abqcarcrashes. (EK)
Beware the coffee! This is the very McDonald’s where, in 1992, Stella Liebeck ordered a 49 cent cup of joe and then spilled it on her lap, resulting in burns, a successful $2.8 million lawsuit and a flood of hacky jokes from every two-bit comic in the country. Although most people have heard of the case, many don’t realize that the coffee was so hot (180 to 190 degrees) that Liebeck suffered third-degree burns requiring a skin graft, or that McDonald’s had refused to grant Liebeck’s initial request for just enough money to cover her medical expenses. Regardless of your take on the lawsuit, we recommend that if you buy coffee anywhere, you not hold the cup between your legs while driving. (TB)
Since 2005, seven dogs residing in zip code 87121 (south of Central between 98th Street and Coors) have been monitored by the city. The pups that are determined dangerous are licensed, sterilized, microchipped and cannot leave their owner’s property without an adequate leash. Two of the dogs are named Rufus, including one very intimidating Chihuahua. If you have an unfortunate canine run-in, visit 1.usa.gov/abqbaddogs. (EK)
Although we can't tell you which roads are guaranteed to bring you home safe on a Friday night, we can tell you which to avoid. Data gathered by UNM’s Division of Government Research between 2007 and 2009 ranks the odd little intersection where Central and Zuni merge (they’re parallel elsewhere) as No. 1 in percentage of accidents involving alcohol, with 11.8 percent of the 34 crashes caused by intoxication. To see how your intersection ranks, go to bit.ly/abqcarcrashes. (EK)
Eight months into 2011, and APD is already reporting 17 homicides throughout the city. Only two of the cases remain unsolved, says Sgt. Trish Hoffman. Officer-involved shootings are not included in those numbers. To see what’s near your address, go to crimemapping.com. (EK)
Kirtland Air Force Base is a morass of frightening stuff—namely, nuclear weapons and a massive jet fuel hemorrhage. Although Air Force head honchos neither confirm nor deny numbers, an estimated 2,000 nuclear warheads lie in underground storage at the base. If the threat of a Duke City nuclear holocaust isn’t enough, there’s also Albuquerque’s version of the BP spill. Millions of gallons of Air Force jet fuel creep closer and closer to southeastern Albuquerque neighborhoods every day. The base says the fuel seepage originated during a ’50s era pipe leak. Although it hasn’t hit drinking water wells, it has reached the monitoring wells and is nearing reserve water sources. (EK)
A contract with Arizona-based Redflex expired in Oct. 2010, and we thought they were gone. No such luck. A month later Mayor Richard Berry reinstated red-light cameras at 14 intersections throughout the city. Not only do the cameras catch you red-handed, estimates say that an additional $370,000 was needed in tax money to keep the program in place. On average, 73 citations are issued per month and make up one-third of the city’s moving violation tickets. Data from 2010 put the intersection at Central and Coors as the clear frontrunner, with 3,036 citations issued between January and August. Add that to 4,385 citations at the same intersection in 2009. Fines are $75 and can be paid by mail or online. The question of whether to keep the system in place goes to Albuquerque voters on Oct. 4. For more on these robocop cameras: 1.usa.gov/abqredlightcameras. (EK)
The EPA says the Sandia Labs Mixed Waste Landfill isn’t a threat, but a 2011 report by Citizen Action says otherwise. The mixed-waste landfill lies directly above the main source of water for 600,000 Albuquerque residents. From 1959 to 1988 the landfill was used for disposal of low-level radioactive materials. Contaminants include nickel, cadmium, nitrate and chromium, all of which can cause nasty health problems with overexposure. What’s more, Mesa del Sol—a “green” community development touting that its “respect for the environment result[s] in a healthier, simpler, more sustainable way to live”—just broke ground adjacent to the site. (EK)
Hide your kids, hide your wife and keep that mace handy, especially if you live in zip code 87108. The New Mexico Sex Offender Information Page, developed by Department of Public Safety, lists 146 registered sex offenders in the area south of Lomas and east of Carlisle. To see who’s hiding out in your zip code, visit: bit.ly/abqpervs. (EK)
On average, what kind of nightlife do Albuquerque, Santa Fe and surrounding areas have to offer? Based on a sample taken from this week’s Music Calendar, a lot of DJs. People playing prerecorded music of various forms, formats and qualities is nearly twice as common as the next highest ranking genre—jazz. Rock, Americana (which includes folk, singer-songwriter, alt.country and bluegrass) and karaoke rounded out the top five. For proportional illustration, view the makeup of the Alibi’s Music Calendar in this appetizing pie chart.
Burqueño reggae-rock band ¡Revìva! has been making music about peace and positivity since early last year. In that short time, the group has had the honor of opening for acclaimed acts like the Wailers. But after ¡Revìva! releases its first album, Change, on Saturday, the band will be transformed. Vocalist Chris Brennan, who sings in English and Spanish, is taking a two-year assignment in Nicaragua with the Peace Corps. Brennan shared some random tracks from his music library with the Alibi.
Portland post-punk/shoegaze band The Prids returns to Albuquerque on Saturday, Aug. 20. The performance—part of what is rumored to be the heavily touring band’s final spin around the country—happens at Burt’s Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW). Albuquerque acts The Glass Menageries and Lady Uranium open. This 21-and-over show is free and begins at 9:30 p.m. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Shootings, lack of oversight have plagued police for years
By Carolyn Carlson
Officer-involved shootings and a lack of oversight have plagued police for years. Reporter Carolyn Carlson looks back at a report from the ’90s spurred by civil rights abuses, as well as all the headlights shining on Albuquerque police today.
Third Annual Albuquerque Film Festival packs schedule with diversity
By Devin D. O’Leary
The motto for the third annual Albuquerque Film Festival is “Hip. Cool. Funny. Strange. Social Change.” That all-things-to-all-people promise is more than fulfilled in the festival’s eclectic lineup of events, which runs Aug. 18 through 21.
Admirable, no-budget sci fi gets sucked in by the gravitational pull of sad teenagers and planet-sized metaphors
By Devin D. O’Leary
Writer-director Mike Cahill and writer-actor Brit Marling have cleverly concocted a sci-fi premise that requires little to no effort (or money) to bring to cinematic life. Marling stars as Rhoda Williams, a bright-star teenager who graduates high school on a fast track to MIT. Unfortunately, one very poor decision involving a party, a lot of booze and a car leads to tragedy. A few years down the road, Rhoda is released from jail, her once-promising life now in shambles. A lot has changed since Rhoda’s ill-fated night. Chief among those changes has been the discovery of a new planet, seemingly identical to Earth, in rotation around the sun.
Perhaps it’s the bad economy that’s got us all hunkering down in survival mode. The very week that Science Channel premieres “JUNKies” (a show about no-budget inventors making cool machines out of junk), the cable station also hands us “Stuck With Hackett.” Following in a similar Dumpster-science vein, this show introduces audiences to survivalist savant and “post-apocalyptic MacGyver” Chris Hackett.
The newest film to shoot in our fair state is The Banshee Chapter. The modestly budgeted horror film is being produced by actor Zachary Quinto’s Before the Door Pictures. Quinto is best known as Sylar on the TV show “Heroes” and as Spock in J.J. Abrams’ rebooted Star Trek. No word on whether Quinto will star in the film. The film is to be written and directed by Blair Erickson, who’s making his feature film debut with this one. Chapter is allegedly based on a series of real CIA programs, and it concentrates on a female journalist who goes in search of a friend who’s been experimenting with mind-altering chemicals developed in secret government drug tests. Shooting is scheduled to go in front of the lens in late August.
Abstractions in Balance is imaginative, sophisticated and poetic. The new collections presented by Lorna E. Smith and Harley Kirschner, running this month at the Range Café in Bernalillo, both draw inspiration from the natural world, but contain nuanced differences. Kirschner says “at the core of both bodies of work is a Zen simplicity.”
Playwright Neil LaBute is known for his unflinching, cynical plays that feature characters at their worst, often worthy of audience disgust. He is also regarded for his rapid-fire, true-to-life dialogue that has actors talking over one another and cutting off each other’s lines. Duke City Reparatory Theatre’s production of reasons to be pretty has both of these elements. But Amelia Ampuero, the director of the play, says this LaBute script is much more palatable than some of his other material.
New Mexico intrigues revealed by former CIA officer
By Christie Chisholm
E. B. Held wasn’t a spy, but he was a spy recruiter. He worked as a clandestine operations officer with the CIA for 27 years, stationed around the world in Asia, Latin America and Africa. His book, A Spy’s Guide to Santa Fe and Albuquerque, details a number of spy activities that took place in the two cities before and during the Cold War.
Occitania is a cultural region centered on the narrowest part of the Iberian Peninsula. It includes Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts, rugged mountains, fertile valleys, and grape terrace-filled hills. This land of figs and fish is mostly French but includes parts of Spain and Italy. The Northern Italian restaurant Torinos’ @ Home, off Jefferson in the Journal Center, is the next best thing to a plane ticket to Occitania’s northeast corner.
Chow’s Chinese Bistro opened in Santa Fe in 1993. I remember a friend telling me about a great new Chinese place I should try, and I did. The food was a step up from ordinary—fresh, bright flavors, and ingredients beyond mix-and-match vegetables. In 1999, the first Albuquerque Chow’s opened on Juan Tabo, followed by another at Cottonwood mall in 2005. Proprietors Richard and Lucy Zeng and their son Jason opened Fan Tang two weeks ago in Nob Hill.
Extensive archive illuminates vision of hunter-turned-conservationist
By Summer Olsson
Ernest Thompson Seton spent his life making people aware of their impact on nature and introducing youth to the outdoors. He was an artist, woodsman and mentor who wrote more than 50 books. He confounded the worldwide Boy Scouts movement. And he was once an avid hunter who was changed into a conservationist by a spiritual experience he had in New Mexico. The Academy for the Love of Learning, based outside Santa Fe, is about to open its permanent Seton Gallery.
The ridiculous trend of planking—i.e., lying face down on things—has taken root globally. To better assist you with the understanding of this phenomenon, the Alibi brings you the Planktionary, as well as the newest, digitally-enhanced companion to the fad: flanking.
Native youth group bikes 200 miles on the Trail of the Ancients
By Elise Kaplan
Jake Foreman, a member of the Absentee Shawnee tribe of Oklahoma, says riding along the trail is a step toward healing historical traumas. “We’re retracing that route on bicycle and learning from spiritual leaders at every stop,” he says.
Free birth control was rolled into the country’s coming health care reform at the beginning of August. Yet the suggestion that women ought to have access to preventive measures predictably outraged people who confuse contraception with abortion.
Recall, if you can, the moment in Robert Altman’s The Player when a bunch of crass movie studio executives sit around decrying the need for screenwriters when stories can simply be plucked out of the newspaper free of charge. First-time screenwriter Michael Diliberti has beat such corporate shortcutting to the punch with 30 Minutes or Less, a raunchy, rapid-fire action-comedy based ever-so-loosely on the unbelievable true story of a Pennsylvania pizza delivery guy who was killed after being forced to rob a bank with a bomb strapped around his neck. A gung-ho director and an able cast work some explosive laughs out of this touchy germ of an idea.
More than a decade after the beloved PBS show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” went off the air, the series is getting a sequel. Fred Rogers passed away in 2003, leaving behind a legacy of nearly 900 (!) TV show episodes spanning five decades. Despite his passing, The Fred Rogers Company has announced the creation of a “multi-platform animated series aimed at preschoolers.” The new show will be called “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” and will concentrate on the 4-year-old son of Daniel Striped Tiger, a resident puppet of Mister Rogers’ well-known Neighborhood of Make-Believe.
The Native Cinema Showcase is a welcome addition to the popular Santa Fe Indian Market, taking place in the capital city this coming week. The 11th annual Showcase will run Monday, Aug. 15, through Sunday, Aug. 21. A yearly collaborative partnership between the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, the Native Cinema Showcase spotlights the vitality and diversity of Native filmmaking around the globe.
A raunchy creation propagated from the Sunset Strip’s infamous ’80s metal scene, L.A. Guns is an old-salt act with nearly 30 years of rock action under its studded belt. Aesthetically, the group is part glam and part punk—black hair, aviators, tattoos and motorcycle jackets laden with skull and pistol imagery have long lent an air of playful toughness. Aurally, the group is quintessential hair metal—rock and roll songs that deal with girls and hell-raising punctuated by killer shredding.
Having a good, honest mechanic is as valuable as having a good attorney or accountant. Just like the latter two, a mechanic is there to sort through and make sense of a system that’s inscrutable to the layman. Lucky for Albuquerque, two friendly, reliable and skilled gearheads founded a full-service automotive and diesel repair shop back in January. Having another local business like this is swell on its own, but this one is musician- and women-owned.
Kalyn Heffernan was nominated this year for Best Female MC in Denver’s Westword. Some people questioned why the best-of category was restricted by gender, but Heffernan wasn’t ruffled because she’s confident in her skills. “I feel like could compete with all the male MCs in that category too,” she tells me by phone. “I think I approach the mic with just as much talent as the majority of rappers that I appreciate. Like, I wouldn’t be putting myself out if I wasn’t confident enough about it—that it’s just as good, or close to as good, as the people that I think are good.”
Get down to nu disco and deep house funk at the Moonlight Lounge (120 Central SW) on Saturday, Aug. 13. The righteous jams will be generated from the record collections of Ni3to, At_One, Dave 12 and Billa starting at 9 p.m. This 21-and-over dance party is free. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Church of Beethoven’s older, cocktail-swirling brother
By Summer Olsson
When I found out I could hear live classical music and drink a beer and not get up “really early” on Sunday morning, I was totally in. Club Beethoven is the afternoon version of Church of Beethoven, the long-running Sunday morning event featuring classical music and a bit of spoken performance, usually poetry. The Club is held in the afternoon, at Casablanca, inside the Hotel Andaluz.
Only about eight booths long, the Cuba Farmers’ Market has a big heart. And since there’s not always enough booty to go around, getting there early is recommended. Cuba is a hub for a large, beautiful and funky area. The market is a distillation of the surrounding mountains, canyons, valley and scrubland, and it foments a sense of community that’s been waiting to happen. Locals are “over the moon about it,” says Shari Smoker of the UNM Prevention Research Center, which helped create the market last year. “They just love it so much. It’s giving people a place to have a sense of community and talk to their neighbors and get to know their growers.”
I fell in love with Greek food in my high school years in Detroit’s Greek Town. Among the recipes I’ve made my own is this one for baklava—rich with butter, crispy layers of phyllo and sweet New Mexico honey. It’s one of my favorites. My friend Marissa Evans and I got on a baklava jag and, over two weeks, made piles of the stuff.