As most of you already know, the financially strapped nonprofit arts organization Magnífico recently shut down its magnificent art space at 516 Central SW. The closing put Melody Mock, Magnífico's director of exhibits and programs, out of work. Mock could've pouted on her couch with a tub of Ben and Jerry's squeezed between her thighs while sinking into the sticky existential pit of daytime television, but she decided to do something productive instead. She put together an online gallery that showcases local contemporary artists and also includes reviews, features and a calendar of local arts events. The first show will feature work by mixed media artist Valerie Roybal. Check it out at www.contemporaryalbuquerque.com.
Taste of Chicago
Gorilla Tango Comedy Theatre
Many people associate live comedy with smoky bars filled with drunks. They imagine a stage with an exposed brick backdrop and a string of sweaty comedians spouting insults at audience members clueless enough to sit in the front row. Except for the exposed brick backdrop, the Gorilla Tango Comedy Theatre, which recently opened in downtown Albuquerque, is a very different animal.
Tricklock Performance Space
One of my favorite Dylan lines of all time is "They say that patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings." Man, if that ain't the whole truth and nothing but. In a new original satire by Joe Forrest Sackett, Theater-in-the-Making, a youth theater company currently in residence at the Tricklock, presents a biting look at the dubious political hackery of the Bush administration. Directed by Paul Ford, Patriots runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 6 p.m., through Sept. 26. $10. 254-8393.
Harwood Art Center
There's something eerily attractive about David Ondrik's relentlessly unromantic landscapes. His stunning large-scale black and white images capture tampered terrains strewn with industrial wreckage and blighted by human manipulation. Ondrik's photographs should be placed on anti-postcards and mailed to Republican members of Congress. A new exhibit of his work opens this Friday at the Harwood Art Center with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Runs through Sept. 30. 242-6367.
Hell on Earth
Novels set in Africa are habitually compared to Conrad's Heart of Darkness, especially when they're written by white authors and touch on the always touchy subject of Western imperialism. Such comparisons are almost always superficial to the point of inanity, of course, but that doesn't stop critics from adopting them, and I'm certainly not going to break with tradition here.
How is it that our world produces forms as fragile, beautiful and unlikely as butterflies, along with greed, war and the inevitability of death? Gary Every's haunting novella, Inca Butterflies, encapsulates the final days of the Inca Empire just before and after the arrival of Spanish invaders lusting for gold. With reader-friendly prose, Butterflies clips along, infused with the beauty, religious beliefs and barbarism of a civilization which rose up and flourished, then fell away.
On Being Born and Other Difficulties
Everything you've ever wanted to know, and then some, about where little boys and girls come from. Gonzalez-Crussi, a pathology professor at Northwestern University , probes everything from modern science to ancient myth in this fascinating book on the origins of life.