V.23 No.8 | 2/20/2014
Pixies’ Second Chance Bash
Evolving band hits open road
By Mark Lopez
Wherein Mark Lopez gabs about aural history, science magic and, yes, Kim Deal with Pixies drummer Dave Lovering.
V.23 No.4 | 1/23/2014
The Punk Singer Keeps On Livin’
An interview with Kathleen Hanna
By M. Brianna Stallings
Wherein music writer M. Brianna Stallings converses with iconic punk singer Kathleen Hanna about riot grrrl, Bikini Kill, feminism, The Julie Ruin and more.
V.23 No.2 | 1/9/2014
courtesy of the author
The Voice that Was Already There
Ruth Ozeki investigates truth in fiction
By Nora Hickey
Ruth Ozeki can lay down a prescient vision of the world. She can weave disparate facts, languages and people into a story that is both time-bound and timeless.
V.22 No.45 | 11/7/2013
Courtesy of artist
Confection of Noise
Melt-Banana talks fetch, Fukushima and pink noise
By Nate Daly
Nate Daly waxes nostalgic, looks forward and interviews cult noise-rock duo Melt-Banana.
V.22 No.40 | 10/3/2013
Holdin’ On in the Plastic World
ABQ Zine Fest creator Marya Errin Jones on self-publication, little Ray Bradbury and unlikely alliances
By Lisa Barrow
ABQ Zine Fest offers a weekend of zine-related events, celebrating independent publishing and DIY culture in Albuquerque.
V.22 No.38 | 9/19/2013
Photo by Eric Charbonneau
An interview with film producer Kira Davis
By Devin D. O’Leary
V.22 No.37 | 9/12/2013
Terrible Is the New Awesome
Mad media archaeologists Everything Is Terrible! come to town
By Devin D. O’Leary
Since their inception, the VHS-obsessed amateur sociologists behind Everything Is Terrible! have spent thousands of hours digging up the weirdest, most mind-boggling films, TV commercials, music videos, exercise tapes and motivational speeches for the edification and bafflement of future generations.
Band of Brothers
Two decades of being Hanson
By Krystle Archibeque
The luscious-locked trio has come a long way since 1997.
V.22 No.34 | 8/22/2013
A Vile Sincerity
Songwriter Kurt Vile talks music, American fiction and fatherhood
By Mark Lopez
Mark Lopez gabbed with Kurt Vile about fame, schnitzel, family and songwriting.
V.22 No.33 | 8/15/2013
Road to Hell Leads to Albuquerque
An interview with prolific B-movie maker Albert Pyun
By Devin D. O’Leary
Starting with his first feature, 1982’s late-night cable TV staple The Sword and The Sorcerer, Albert Pyun established himself as one of the B-movie kings of Hollywood. Now he’s touring the country with Road to Hell, an unofficial sequel to Walter Hill’s 1984 urban fantasy cult film Streets of Fire.
V.22 No.31 | 8/1/2013
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Dropping a Bombshell
Thriller author explodes nuclear tourism and genre archetypes
By M. Brianna Stallings
Author James Reich reveals the friction and fission at the nuclear heart of his new novel.
V.22 No.28 | 7/11/2013
Heartless Bastards Target Albuquerque
Erika Wennerstrom on writing, the desert and spirit animals
By Mark Lopez
Wherein Mark Lopez converses with Heartless Bastards’ Erika Wennerstrom about music of the now, lyricism, inspiration and—yes—spirit animals.
V.22 No.26 |
The Daily Word in Arizona firefighters, New Mexico water plan and meth in the pelvis
By Mark Lopez [ Mon Jul 1 2013 10:04 AM ]
An Arizona wildfire claims the lives of 19 firefighters.
Zimmerman trial update: The jury was able to listen to Zimmerman's interview tape from the night of the Trayvon Martin shooting, which could give clues as to who the "aggressor" was.
Europe wants to know if the U.S. has been bugging them ... otherwise, we can kiss that trans-Atlantic free trade agreement bye-bye.
Sen. Karen Peterson and her partner, Vikki Bandy, become first same-sex couple to legally marry in Delaware!
Wait a minute ... so that's one well (or spring) for 290 water systems? So, what's plan B?
New Mexico orders another trial for Manuel Turrietta, who was convicted for killing Alberto Sandoval in 2006 in a gang-related shooting.
Ashley Browder's memorial banner taken down from the corner of Paseo Del Norte and Eagle Ranch Road.
Wow Claudia! That's a whole pound of meth! How'd you get that in there?
Hello sir, I believe this arm is yours ...
V.22 No.26 | 6/27/2013
Hot Fruit cooks with fire
By Samantha Anne Carrillo
The Alibi talks feminism, camp, Reddit misogyny and motivation with Olympia, Wash.-based power trio Hot Fruit.
V.22 No.25 | 6/20/2013
Dragged down by Dolls
Way more highs than lows at Valley of the Dolls
By Samantha Anne Carrillo [ Fri Jun 14 2013 1:37 PM ]
The Alibi sent two of its editors, Arts & Lit Editor Lisa Barrow and Copy Editor/Staff Writer Mark Lopez, to check out local drag troupe The Dolls’ interpretation of Valley of the Dolls. I wasn’t able to attend this performance but—since I’ve read VotD a gazillion times—Barrow and Lopez offered to let me interview them about the show. Helen Lawson—whose character was based on and originally cast as a Judy Garland role—would probably urge you to ignore this, but she’s trapped in the ladies’ room right now, ‘cause I tossed her wig in the toilet. So read on.
Who was your favorite actor/character in the Dolls’ production of Valley of the Dolls? If you saw the film or read the book, is your literary/filmic fave character/actor the same?
Mark Lopez: My favorite character was Helen Lawson, played by Tequila Mockingbyrd. The character was hilarious and spot-on in terms of comedic timing. Granted, I’ve never read the book or seen the famous 1967 flick, I was glad to go into this production with a fresh head, not knowing what to expect. But Helen Lawson blew me away from the beginning. Neely O’Hara is a close second.
Lisa Barrow: Tequila Mockingbyrd was a crowd-pleaser, it’s true, whipping the audience up every time she appeared as Helen Lawson, the cynical star who’s past her prime. But I think I most enjoyed seeing Jennifer North, the tragically beautiful starlet who’s only appreciated for her body. A doe-eyed Stacia Visage gave her a syrupy voice and a voluptuous physical presence that played up the best and funniest parts of the character. I wish there’d been more for her to do.
In the film, Dionne Warwick’s rendition of the VotD theme really sets the tone for melodrama. How is music and song used in the Dolls’ interpretation?
ML: For me, the song was used in a sort of comedic way. In the beginning, seeing Anne Wells (played by Chastity Belt-Off) walk across the stage with a makeshift train window to the track was hilarious. To me, it was sort of a precursor to the ridiculousness and outlandish quality that made it so fun and enjoyable to watch. And of course, when it played at the end, as the actors took their bows, with Jacquesan Stratton-Toya Bouvier (wow, what a name!) lip-syncing to the song, it made me understand why people are fans of the original film.
LB: I just have to say, Jacquesan Stratton-Toya Bouvier was fantastic. She had several minor roles and was magnetic in every one. Mark’s right about the show playing up the ridiculousness in just the right way—another good lip-synching moment was Helen Lawson’s big number, “I’ll Plant My Own Tree,” where they approximated those colorful 1960s decorations (I don’t even know how to describe them... some sort of Calder-inspired mobile?) and Tequila Mockingbyrd owned the stage in a weird dress you couldn’t stop staring at. But my favorite multimedia aspect to the show were the film clips. Jennifer North rolling around on a bed with a French hunk in one of her nudie films was too wonderful for words. In the VotD movie, the whole scene with Sharon Tate is pretty tame and restrained. But in the hands of The Dolls, it was sublimely bizarre.
ML: Yes! The film clips were excellent. My favorite was when they incorporated Neely O’Hara’s exercise routine in a video with the Pee-wee’s Big Adventure theme song as the backing track. It’s probably not enough to merely mention it; this is one of those instances where you have to be there to not only witness the hilarity, but to get a better context for it. Needless to say, it was pretty great.
Sometimes theater audiences can seem very self-conscious and cautious about responding … whether they’re worried about laugh-snorting or being the only one screaming “Brava!” How was the audience interaction/participation at this show?
LB: It could’ve been better. Jim Johns, the show’s director, did come out at the beginning of the show and encourage everyone to shout out favorite lines like, “SPARKLE, Neely, SPARKLE!” And the stars onstage sometimes gave the audience signals to applaud—but overall, the crowd was pretty quiet. Maybe it’d be different with a different crowd, or the Dolls will manage to drum up more audience frenzy with more performances. I hope so. But something they did really well was interact directly with members of the audience at a few key parts. I don’t want to give too much away, but let me just dangle the phrase “high flying dry humping” before you...
ML: I tend to be one of those “self-conscious” audience members that doesn’t like audience interaction too much, so in that regard, I was kind of glad that I didn’t have to participate. The moments that Lisa refers to when they interacted with people were done very selectively. But, it was done well. And as I said before, I wasn’t familiar with the subject matter of the play, so I didn’t know when it was appropriate to yell “Fag!” (And I’m gay, so it’s okay for me to say it now.) So, mum was the word … and rightly so.
Now that the performance has had a chance to percolate in the ol’ brainpan for a few days, what would y’all say the overall strengths and weaknesses of The Dolls’ VotD are? Would you be interested in attending another work interpreted by The Dolls? If you could instruct them to take on a work, what would it be?
LB: Strengths were lightning-speed scenes and skillful, funny stars. I also love how fully The Dolls grok their source material, the 1967 movie—clearly, they love its camp and its senseless shallow splendor and also grasp how ripe it is for lampooning. But their fidelity to the movie might be a weakness, too—parts of the show could seem like an in-joke if you didn’t know the scenes they were based on. Which is why anyone reading this conversation should click on the video links and get familiar with some of the original scenes and classic lines before they see the show. So, hells yes, I’d see more Dolls in a heartbeat. As to what work I wish they’d take on... Well, in a perfect world in which my own very obscure, very particular demographic were addressed, I have to admit that I would swoon over an all-drag version of Gilmore Girls. But, almost certainly, that’s just me.
ML: I agree that that one of the strengths were the “skillful, funny stars” that Lisa mentioned. Also, they utilized the space very well. When I first stepped into the theater and saw how small the stage was, I was worried that it was going to be cramped and awkward, but they moved within the boundaries so fluidly and made it work. As for what they could work on, I’m not sure. As Lisa mentioned, there were a lot of in-jokes, but they were constantly lost on me because I didn’t know where they were (also because I’m not all there), but I didn’t watch any VotD clips before or after the show, but I still enjoyed the moment for what it was, which tends to be how I like to experience things. And Lisa! A Gilmore Girls show would be fantastic! You reading my mind?
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