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V.22 No.28 | 7/11/2013
Heartless Bastards

Show Up!

Heartless Bastards Target Albuquerque

Erika Wennerstrom on writing, the desert and spirit animals

Wherein Mark Lopez converses with Heartless Bastards’ Erika Wennerstrom about music of the now, lyricism, inspiration and—yes—spirit animals.
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news

The Daily Word in Arizona firefighters, New Mexico water plan and meth in the pelvis

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 (from left) Grace Ellis, Sara Blumenthal and Mica Huntley
Nani Photo

Aural Fixation

Feminist Compote

Hot Fruit cooks with fire

The Alibi talks feminism, camp, Reddit misogyny and motivation with Olympia, Wash.-based power trio Hot Fruit.
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Theater

Dragged down by Dolls

Way more highs than lows at Valley of the Dolls

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?

Play Youtube Video

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.

Play Youtube Video

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.

Play Youtube Video
Brush up on your Valley of the Dolls: the trailer

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.

Play Youtube Video
Neely O’Hara and Helen Lawson have a vicious cat fight in the bathroom

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?

Play Youtube Video
A Gilmore Girls drag show would be so much better than this...

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?

More Videos

Valley of the Dolls

Runs through June 23

Friday, 8 p.m.
Saturday, 8 p.m.
Sunday matinee 2 p.m.

Aux Dog Theatre
3011 Monte Vista NE
(behind Buffalo Exchange)

Tickets: $15
254-7716 or info@auxdog.com
Music

“You are worthy.”

Alice Cooper
Ross Halfin
Alice Cooper

Hearing the words referenced in the title of this blog from the legendary Alice Cooper may have done more for my self esteem than intensive psychotherapy ever could. See the Godfather of Shock Rock—along with some fellow named Marilyn Manson—in Burque this weekend, and read our uncut interview with the man, the myth, the “Cooper woman” in Infinitely More Mr. Nice Guy. Stream my favorite song from one of my favorite Alice Cooper albums, From the Inside, below. Isleta Amphitheater • Masters of Madness Tour • Alice Cooper • Marilyn Manson • Sat June 1 • 7 p.m. • $25-$112 • alicecooper.com

Play Youtube Video
Alice Cooper - “For Veronica’s Sake”

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V.22 No.22 | 5/30/2013
Alice Cooper
Ross Halfin

Show Up!

Infinitely More Mr. Nice Guy

Alice Cooper talks Hollywood Vampires, God, golf and Marilyn Manson

We’re not worthy, but Alice Cooper graced us with some effervescent conversation anyway.
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Arts Interview

Don’t Call It a Comeback

Hip Mama’s been here for years

Print’s not dead, baby! Read our interview with author Ariel Gore to hear why.

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V.22 No.20 | 5/16/2013

Film Interview

Killer Road Trip

An interview with the husband-and-wife, acting/writing/producing team behind Compound Fracture

Wrestler-turned-actor Tyler Mane brings his new horror film to Albuquerque’s Dark Matters Film Fest.

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V.22 No.18 | 5/2/2013
Quilted by Mary Rowan Quinn

Arts Interview

SEEDS Exhibit Puts Down Roots

Multimedia works of more than 60 artists represent and bring attention to the preservation of seeds.
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The Handsome Family
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com

Spotlight

The Handsome Family’s Americana Gothic

Talking metaphor, Wilderness and Custer’s corpse

Geoffrey Plant chats with The Handsome Family’s Brett and Rennie Sparks at their Albuquerque home.

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V.22 No.17 | 4/25/2013
All’s fair in love and war.

Film Interview

The Art of War

An interview with writer-director Kim Nguyen of the Academy Award-nominated drama War Witch

Writer-director Kim Nguyen’s deeply affecting drama War Witch spent most of last year on the film fest circuit. Boasting beautiful cinematography and patient artistry, Nguyen’s flick doesn’t merely tell the tale of 12-year-old Komona, an African girl forced into becoming a child soldier. It envelops the audience in an entire world, playing out like a horror film set in paradise. Alibi was lucky enough to speak with the French-Canadian filmmaker prior to the film’s New Mexico premiere.

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Arts Interview

How Now? This is How!

An interview with Augusten Burroughs

The Alibi sits down to talk “self-help” with New York Times-bestselling author.

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V.22 No.16 | 4/18/2013

Film Interview

TCM on the Road to Hollywood

An interview with Turner Classic’s Ben Mankiewicz

Turner Classic Movies is sponsoring its annual TCM Classic Movie Festival in Hollywood April 25-28. In order to build up buzz for this fan-service festival filled with films and famous celebrities, the network honchos have organized a special “Road to Hollywood” tour. Touching down in 10 cities across America, the tour features cinema from Hollywood’s golden era (Forbidden Planet, On the Waterfront, Cabaret, Rio Bravo), hosts culled from TCM’s on-air talent pool (Ben Mankiewicz, Leonard Maltin, Robert Osborne) and big-name guest stars (Eva Marie Saint, Angie Dickinson, Liza Minnelli, Robert Wagner).

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V.22 No.14 | 4/4/2013

Food Interview

Leaves and Asphalt

Stanley Crawford and the center of the universe

Stanley Crawford, novelist, memoirist and garlic farmer is telling me about the experience of driving back to his home near Dixon after a day of shopping, movie-going and dinner in Santa Fe. He talks of leaving the barrage of consumer goods and emerging into the Rio Grande canyon; the feeling of being suddenly surrounded by rocks and juniper and piñon.

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V.22 No.7 | 2/14/2013
Sir Richard Bishop

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Siring Superlative Sound

An electronic exchange with Sir Richard Bishop

We e-chatted with founding Sun City Girls member and guitar virtuoso Sir Richard Bishop in preparation for his V-Day gig with Om and Jeremy Barnes at Sister.
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    Old Man Markley
    Old Man Markley4.29.2014