Did feminism really change anything? Do we even want it to? Over 50 years after Betty Friedan helped spark a second wave with The Feminine Mystique, we're still arguing about the morality of birth control and telling young women to “spend far more time planning for your husband than for your career.” (Gag.) As it happens, a fiercely funny, Pulitzer-nominated play is onstage right now in Albuquerque, tackling questions like these without resorting to flimsy stereotypes or strident manifestos. Rapture, Blister, Burn at the Aux Dog Theatre isn't just clever—it's nuanced, thoughtful and uproarious. I asked Aux Dog's producing artistic director Victoria Liberatori about the play, whose run comes to a close this weekend.
Let's start off with a biggie: The Aux Dog website asks, "Are you afraid of the F word?" and insists this "is not a 'feminist' play." Why shouldn't audiences be afraid of the lady-problems in Rapture, Blister, Burn, and how soul-crushingly sad is it that you even have to explain that?
Victoria Liberatori: Feminism has always gotten a bad rep as a man-hating, humorless, strident political movement for unfulfilled upper-class women. Was any movement for civil rights a laugh riot? However untrue, that label has stuck and, if anything, Rapture, Blister, Burn seeks to dispel those misperceptions and succeeds in debunking the dreary women's libber image. The show is funny, sexy and not at all preachy. Yes, it's sad that the image was falsely created and promoted by anti-feminist forces in the media, government and business. It's also shocking that we're still fighting the same battles today for equal pay, for access to abortion and for equal representation in our government, on corporate boards and in the media.
The New York Times says Rapture, Blister, Burn contains "a joke about pornography and Google maps — believe it or not — that’s worth the ticket price alone." What do you think is the key to the humor in this play?
VL: Unflinching honesty in the eye of hypocrisy and the fact that the real wisdom comes from the mouth of the youngest character in the play, Avery, a 21-year-old. The playwright, Gina Gionfriddo, has brilliantly interwoven the perspectives of three generations of women and that of the sole man in the play. When these points-of-view clash there are great comedic explosions!
Tell me a little about what your actors bring to their roles in the Aux Dog rendition of Rapture, Blister, Burn. What would you most like Albuquerque audiences to take away?
VL: The actors all do an amazing job of inhabiting these funny, neurotic, complex characters, yet they bring their own unique personal qualities to the roles. Our Catherine, played by Sheridan Johnson, is a high-strung academic rock star; Gwen, played by Jessica Osbourne, is a dreamy stay-at-home mom who feels she deserves more; Don, played by Ryan Montenery, is an attractive, charming slacker who settles for being a dean at a fourth-rate college; Avery, played by Sara Rosenthal, is a 21-year-old prophet of sorts who wants to be a reality TV star; and Alice, played by Gail Spidle, is Catherine's mother who just wants her daughter to be happy no matter how much must be compromised. The characters in this play are so rich in nuance and depth. What a joy to work with our director, Kristine Holtvedt, on them.
The take-away, I suppose, although I hope the play touches each audience member in a way that resonates for them, is that the grass is not always greener in someone else's garden and that we simply cannot reclaim the past no matter how much we want it. Creating a life that's happy isn't easy, but we must try.
And finally, what are you most excited about on Aux Dog's horizon?
VL: Launching our new Shakespeare classes with Jerry Ferraccio and our new acting classes with Jessica Osbourne in our new space, the AUX BOX next door to the Aux Dog. Solidifying our Aux Dog Theatre Company of actors, designers and production personnel, and building on the incredible success we had in 2013! Expanding our audience base and taking on new, challenging projects that excite us and our audiences is always a goal.
Lent gets pretty serious. Growing up Catholic in Texas, I remember how during Lent every fast food chain would have fish-sandwich specials. There was also a local chain called Boat-n-Net (where you'd order food through a PVC pipe and get a 6-piece fish meal for about $4). And every Friday, this place was packed to the point where you'd easily wait about 45 minutes for your order to be ready. Yeah … Catholics, Lent and fish Fridays pretty much sum up the level of commitment. Well … that and giving up something you love for 40 days and 40 nights.
But perhaps you're tired of having to go to chains and wait in long lines. Perhaps you want to eat a home-cooked fish fry dinner. St. John's United Methodist Church (2626 Arizona NE) has you covered. Every Friday (starting tomorrow) they will have baked or fried fish dinners, as well as fried chicken tenders (for those who don't consider poultry meat). The meals will come with a choice of three sides, a beverage and dessert. All the bases are covered! The dinners go from 4pm to 7pm every Friday during Lent and cost $10 for adults, $5 for kids. St. John’s United Methodist Church • Fri Mar 7 • 4-7pm • $5-$10 • View on Alibi calendar
We see the intersection between human and machine getting airtime everywhere in pop culture these days, from Her’s husky-voiced operating system to “Almost Human,” the futuristic police procedural in which cop is partnered with android. But dancer and choreographer Cathy Weis has been delving into themes of humanity, technology and physicality for decades in a way that can still startle an audience jaded by ever-present CGI special effects. Live video feeds, monitors, projections, and camera dollies insert the inescapably electronic into dance’s ephemeral physical reality. Figures are repeated, amplified and shown from odd perspectives. But this is no grim exercise in theory—Weis’ brand of genius includes a sense of humor, like in one past show when the artist’s head kibitzed from a b&w television passed to the stage by the audience. Weis, who previously visited the North Fourth Art Center (4904 Fourth Street NW) in 2006, returns to Albuquerque this weekend for An Evening Back at North Fourth with N4th’s Buen Viaje Dance Company. Tickets are $8 for students and seniors, $10 for everyone else. Call 344-4542 or visit vsartsnm.org soon, because there are just two performances: tomorrow, March 7, and Saturday, March 8, at 8pm. N4th Theater • Fri Mar 7 • 8-9pm • $8-$10 • View on Alibi calendar
Sometimes, it pays off to be bad at your job. Just ask Mae Keane, whose boss told her to use her lips to sharpen the point of a radioactive paint brush. She refused, got fired and, unlike many of her more cooperative coworkers who died in the 1920s, lived to be 107.
You attended the IDEAS in Psychiatry lecture by Dr. Swanson the evening of February 25th. I sat immediately to your right. We made some small talk and I commented on your being left handed. You have a beautiful smile that reaches your eyes and makes them shine. I wish we could meet and talk some more, maybe over a cup of coffee.
AN INCONVENIENT LOCATION
6:14am: An inconveniently-located QUICKIE MART. You were resplendent in Hello Kitty pajama bottoms, tube top and go-go boots. With back turned to me you shouted, “LOOK, A BALLOON!” to the cashier. As he turned HIS back you adroitly shoveled the contents of the countertop green chili stewpot into your needlepoint shoulder-strapped gym bag. Paying only for a box of JUJUBES, you jauntily exited with a toss of green-fuchsia-aquamarine-teal-salmon shoulder-length tresses, leaving only desire.
Thank You, Yoga Pants!!!
Why do I feel like bursting out in song every time I see one of you lovely, shapely women dressed in yoga pants? Is it because they showcase the wonderful difference between men and women? Highlight every curve, nook and cranny of your provocative bodies? Provide me with graphic mental images for those times of drought? Who knows?! I'm just glad you delicious, naughty little beasts wear them & thank you for buying & wearing them, & their designer for inventing them!
The post-game semi-scuffle between UNM and SDSU begins.
The University of New Mexico Lobos men's basketball team has had a great month. February, with one minor aberration that might come back to haunt the team, was a good time for Coach Neal and his squad. That hiccup—a loss to Boise State University on Feb. 12—was followed up by two quick and easy wins over Mountain West Conference also-rans Nevada and UNLV. However, on Saturday, February 22, things picked up a notch.
San Diego State University—then ranked #6 in the nation—came to visit the Pit, expecting to walk all over the unranked Lobos. The cherry and silver squad, though, quickly ran away with the game. UNM led by as much as 9 in the first half and opened up the second on a 21-2 run that hammered the game out of the Runnin' Rebels' reach. While UNLV did make a run at the end of the game to keep it respectable, it was a huge showing for the Lobos on national television on a Saturday night. The game ended with UNM up by 14, winning the game 58-44.
That win was marred, however, by some pushing in the post-game handshake line, and from there, things got worse. It appears from the video footage that some Lobo fan (or fans) threw something at the UNLV players as they were leaving the court. Coach Neal was unhappy and the Lobos faced plenty of bad press over the ugly incident.
The great game was almost overshadowed by the poor reactions, but on Monday, Feb. 25, the Lobos got the good news they were waiting for: a return to the Top 25. At #25, UNM entered the night's match-up with Utah State heavily favored. The Lobos proceeded to play some terrible first half basketball. When the first 20 minutes expired, Utah State was up one, 27-26. However, in the second half, Coach Neal called upon his son, sometimes-maligned Cullen Neal, ex-Eldorado standout, for a key three pointer. Neal's bucket began a 23-5 run that put the Lobos up for good, stamping out the chances for an upset by the Aggies. The Lobos wound up with a win, 67-58.
inally, as the calendar finally flipped over to March, the Lobos headed up to Nevada on Sunday night. Once again, things looked ugly in the first half. Against a 13-15 Wolf Pack, the Lobos trailed by 4 at half and appeared sloppy at many points. The second half rally got UNM through a middling Nevada squad, but the Lobos have more to worry about than a 72-58 win over a team that is now .500.
In two of the last three games, Cameron Bairstow has scored more than 20 points, but the Lobos have also trailed in two of those last three games at halftime. With a game against Air Force in the Pit as the last regular-season home game, the Lobos need to build some serious momentum on Wednesday night. Why? Their last regular-season game of the season isn't at home emdash it's at San Diego State on Saturday, March 8. The Aztecs, currently sitting at #10, will be sure to have revenge on their minds.
With only those two games left and the Mountain West Conference occurring in Vegas in a mere week and a half, the Lobos are playing great second-half ball, but will need to be able to put together a complete and solid game in order to make the splash that all of Albuquerque wants in the NCAA Tournament.
I am sitting on a rocky cliff in a canyon between two streets with my boss, C, and some other guys. C wants to hike in the bigger mountains. As we leave, my other boss, E, tells me about the blood in his stool. I beg him to try psyllium.
On our way, we stop in a split-level Walgreens so I can show my friend, R, the protein powder. She tries a sample spoonful of cream-of-wheat from a green desert dish.
We then proceed east on a path up a hill near my childhood home. Two guys are practicing fly fishing in their yard. I am hooked in the back of my black fleece jacket.
"Give me back my fishing arm!" the guy says. I unhook. Now they both have their hooks in C.