"Celestial Aquatic Love Song: The Whale" - Pendant with handmade chain - 2013
Sure, some people like to hang art on their walls, but wouldn't it be so much more interesting hanging on you? Jewelry thaumaturge Kristin Diener has been working with wearable art since 1980, when she took her first jewelry class at a small Mennonite college. Now with a few decades of artistic and teaching experience under her belt, Diener employs a sensational array of materials in her one-of-a-kind pieces. Standout baubles include “Celestial Aquatic Love Song,” radiantly combining a plastic whale pendant with a handmade chain, plus aquamarines, moonstones, pearls, ammonine and turquoise; “Watermelon Tourmaline: Eye,” worn long or as a double strand choker, incorporating synthetic ruby, pearl, a fragment of calendar and gold candy wrapper foil; and “Raven,” a pendant with a bottlecap as its centerpiece amongst a cluster of moonstone, pearls and handcrafted chain. Melding density with delicacy, Diener's work will be featured all October in the exhibition Luscious at Mariposa Gallery in Nob Hill (3500 Central SE). Join her for an opening reception tonight from 5 to 8pm and find something that'll make you sparkle. Mariposa Gallery • Fri Oct 4 • 5-8pm • FREE • View on Alibi calendar
Poor Bella Manningham. If only she’d had the internet, maybe she would’ve run across a certain fortifying quotation in constant circulation there: “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, surrounded by assholes.” (Steven Winterburn said that, though it’s usually misattributed to William Gibson.) Because if anyone ever needed to learn not to let people screw with her mind, it’s the high-strung Victorian-era protagonist of Gaslight, whose husband is bent on achieving her total mental and emotional breakdown for his own repugnant reasons. Patrick Hamilton’s 1938 play, which gave us the handy term for a form of abusive manipulation in which the victim is made to question their own sanity, remains popular theater fare more than half a century later. Now the Duke City Repertory Theatre presents their own version of the tense, claustrophobic drama, directed by Amelia Ampuero and starring DCRT veterans Frank Taylor Green and Lauren Myers. Opening tonight in the company’s new space at the Cell (700 First Street NW), Gaslight runs through Oct. 6, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets range from $10 to $20; call 797-7081 or visit dukecityrep.com for more info. Cell Theatre • Thu Sep 26 • 8pm • $10-$20 • View on Alibi calendar
Say farewell to summer, and meet some of Albuquirky’s most whimsically creative folks tomorrow at the Folk Farm Yardfest from 10am to 3pm. The schedule includes a Pez-filling contest at 12:40pm, an all-ages superhero contest at 1:40pm and a pie-eating contest at 2:40pm. Word has it that reigning champion David Koch is the eater to beat. The Yardfest’s extravaganza of affordable homegrown art is helmed by folk artist Steve White, whose line of Pez dispensers altered to resemble musicians, devils, politicians and characters from “Breaking Bad” has brought him something approaching fame. Other artists include Jeff Sipe, Doc Atomic, Goldie Garcia, the Gelvin Family and many others. Don’t miss out on a quick-sketch portrait from “Albuquerque’s Rembrandt,” Leo Neufeld. The Folk Farm Yardfest takes place near Highland Park, at the Folk Farm (White’s offbeat casa at 313 1/2 High SE). The tunes begin at noon, so you can boogie to Albuquerque’s Frank McCulloch and Melody, Steve Stembridge and the legendary Jimmy Stallings, known as both the former bassist for the Sir Douglas Quintet and as J.J. Light. The family-friendly Yardfest is free, but bring your cash to take some of the madcap visual feast home with you. Call 702-2093 if you need to know more. Folk Farm • Sat Sep 21 • 10am-3pm • FREE • ALL-AGES! • View on Alibi calendar
A strange new breed of puppet makes its way to Barelas tonight. Hailing from Puerto Rico, Poncili Creacion is the latest experimental, transcendental, elemental act to grace the ring in the Tannex’s revolving circus of mysteries. What we know of their show “Sacred Candy” is wispy at best: Masks will be employed. Objects will be manipulated. Expectations will be subverted. Cosmic questions will be pondered via optics of encrypted meaning.
A glimpse from “Blind Date” by Josefus & Friends
“Sacred Candy” is a labyrinth you will enter in due time. First: Feast your eyes on “Blind Date,” a live puppet + projection sketch presented by Albuquerque’s own Josefus & Friends. Josefus is Joe Annabi, the multitalented member of former bands THEN EATS THEM and Yoda’s House, whose ingenious cartoons you may have spotted adorning the menu boards at Winning Coffee Co.
“I am a huge fan of the Henson style of puppetry, which was a style developed for television and film,” explains Annabi, who teaches puppet making for kids at the Zia Family Focus Center. “It's not just the technical side of the Henson school of thought that I find appealing, but also very much the aesthetic.” His “Blind Date” will feature two puppets of Annabi’s own creation, Foxi der Fuchs and Drabney Lodores (played by Jenni Bage).
The grown-up-only fun begins at 9pm at the Tannex (1417 Fourth Street SW). Cost is $5 to $10, sliding scale. “I think, between myself and Poncili, this will be a very unique performance for Albuquerque,” says Annabi. “Hopefully we can inspire more experimentation on the fringes of the usual.”
Though they may sound like delicious varieties of candy, “Ike” and “Rox” are actually candidates competing for the new incarnation of the District 2 City Council seat. What’s clear is that each one possesses an equally admirable All-American three-letter nickname, so unfortunately, citizens won’t be able to use that as the deciding factor when they vote on Oct. 8. This race might just have to come down to the issues.
Today’s District 2 was formed in 2012 through arcane redistricting magic that melded most of Democrat Isaac “Ike” Benton’s District 3 (including Barelas, Downtown and north-campus neighborhoods) into Debbie O’Malley’s North Valley District 2. When O’Malley got a new gig as County Commissioner, Mayor Berry appointed fellow Republican Roxanna “Rox” Meyers to fill the vacancy. So inasmuch as city council races ever get exciting, it’s pretty exciting that the race for the now-meatier District 2 features two resident incumbents squaring off. This Thursday, Sept. 12, both Meyers and Benton will be at the North Valley Senior Center for a Q&A forum during a meeting of the North Valley Coalition. Ignore their likeable nicknames and demand they tackle the issues by bringing your tough questions about the area’s three Rs: roundabouts, revitalizations and the Rio Grande. North Valley Senior Center • Thu Sep 12 • 6:30 pm • FREE • ALL-AGES! • View on Alibi calendar
History has snuck up on me. One moment, it was now: when I first heard the news of the planes crashing. I recall it clearly—as do many of you—and it’s irrelevant that we remember different moments. It seems enough that we remember.
Then it was a little after now, when America battened its hatches, put flag stickers on its minivans, unironically used the descriptor “Homeland” and wrote memos rationalizing torture. Yet the constant thread during that time, however insane or useless it was in application, remained remembrance of 9/11.
I recall being 6 or 7 and not really knowing what the Vietnam War was or when it had happened—and I remember seeing in my grandpa’s face how my ignorance wounded him a little. A veteran of the Air Force, he’d served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam; of course it was unimaginable that Vietnam wasn’t looming large in all American minds.
When I talk to someone too young to remember that now shared so viscerally by the rest of us, it feels shocking, even though it shouldn’t.
Photographer Eric O’Connell was living in Manhattan when 9/11 happened. His personal story is pretty amazing—he’s lucky to be alive—but mostly what’s worth noting is the now that he captured on film in all its awful chaos and chilling stillness. The shared remembrance that so many of us possess, the way we still exchange the where-I-was-when stories, must slowly but inexorably give way to a remembrance grounded in images like these.
Images courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition.
An octopus hides in the rocks in Welker Canyon.
I have no studies for you this week. No controlled randomized tests. No laboratory bedrooms or solar weather. I have only radiant, extraordinary images and videos in honor of one rather surprising fact: We barely know our own world at all.
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A shrimp rests on octocoral in Hydrographer Canyon.
Ocean covers just about everything on this planet. But we primates stick to land, and 95% of the ocean remains unexplored. It’s just sitting right there—everywhere—and we’ve never seen exactly what’s going on in its depths.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) aims to change all that. In July and August of this year, their Okeanos Explorer voyaged near the northeastern US along the Atlantic Continental Slope, where the submerged edge of the North American continent begins to drop off into deeper ocean.
Northeast US Canyons Expedition 2013
The Okeanos Explorer isn’t a research vessel. According to NOAA’s website, its “sole assignment is to systematically explore Earth’s largely unknown ocean.” That’s right: pure exploration. Ain’t it grand? Perhaps most thrillingly, at least for armchair scientists everywhere, the expedition tested a new remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that can go down to 6,000 meters (over 19,000 feet). It’s got six cameras, two of them high-def, and an elaborate lighting system. It can move and zoom and produce unutterably awesome (and thoroughly new) images that the team shared in real time with other scientists and with the public.
Frederico Vigil touching up one of his cartoons in the gallery at Nahalat Shalom
A fresco isn’t like a painting. You can’t just pencil out a few shapes, squeeze some acrylic out of a tube and get going. You certainly don’t freehand it. Creating a masterpiece like Frederico Vigil’s 4000-square-foot fresco in the Torreón at the National Hispanic Cultural Center requires undertaking a complex series of well-timed steps. How complex? Your guess is as good as mine, but tomorrow, Aug. 31, you can learn about the fresco process from an acknowledged master of the medium and view seven of his full-size fresco cartoons at the closing reception for “Cartones del Torreón: Full Scale Drawings for the Torreón at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.”
Along the concave wall of the Torreón, Vigil’s monumental work depicts 3 millennia of Hispanic history in buon fresco, or “true” fresco, in which pigments are suspended in water and applied directly onto wet lime plaster. A skilled artist must work quickly and precisely; the color becomes one with the plaster as it dries, making buon fresco an especially vivid and durable medium. (Rome, you know, still has some nice ones from the 13th century.) As tools for planning and composition, cartoons are a vital stage of the fresco process. In addition, they act as stencils so the artist’s lines can be transferred accurately to the freshly laid plaster.
These seven cartoons by Vigil for the Torreón fresco, unseen by the public before this exhibition, are startling artworks in their own right. Make tracks to the North Valley for your last chance to see them at Nahalat Shalom Art Gallery (3606 Rio Grande NW) from 5 to 7pm.
Artist Jaque Fragua, who grew up on the Jemez Pueblo, usually expresses his urgently questioning worldview through bold combinations—partly of materials (from aerosol paint to found objects) and partly of ideas (like technology’s impact on colonization). Fragua collaborated with Chris Stain and Lichiban in 2010 on murals on the south- and west-facing walls of the El Rey Theater, and his William S. Burroughs-influenced series "Separate Savage Realities" is currently available at the NATIVE(X) Gallery in Santa Fe. Now Fragua’s distinctive aesthetic is taking him in a novel direction: a collaboration with Santa Fe clothing brand Not New Worldwide that includes a vintage slub cotton t-shirt and a raw denim jacket. Fragua’s screen-printed “Don’t Believe the Type” tagline “can be a comment on streetwear, graffiti [or] advertising,” said Jack Rael of Not New Worldwide in a press release. The designs will be unveiled at a pop up shop inside Nob Hill menswear store Izzy Martin (3019 Central NE), launching Friday, Aug. 30 from 6:30 to 9pm.
The campaign for the clothing line includes a slick video shot on the streets of Albuquerque. Media artist Dylan McLaughlin says he followed Fragua and Rael over the course of about an hour and a half. “We started in Nob Hill and moved downtown,” he tells me via email. “All the imagery in the that area is iconic and recognizable. Albuquerque has a very great aesthetic when viewed from the right perspective.” Since that perspective here includes what appears to be illicit graffiti-making, it remains to be seen whether the video will bring the right kind of attention to the project. Still, there’s something bewitching about seeing iconic local spots photographed so stylishly. “Jaque sort of just did his thing and I did mine,” says McLaughlin. “Creation and collaboration [are] real when each person is doing what feels right.”
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is not only terrible to say—that, of course, is why we shorten its name to MRSA and pronounce it “mer-suh,” like it’s some kind of Aquaman sidekick—but the potent, stubborn infections it creates are especially horrible. For one thing, they’re really difficult to cure. (That’s the resistant part of the name—antibiotics, our standard weapons against infection, are exactly what they’re resistant to.) For another, MRSA-caused infections, whose symptoms include everything from boils to fever, can be extremely painful.
But what causes all that pain? Until now, doctors believed it was an immune system response. According to this theory, your body basically screams, Holy crap I’ve been invaded! I’d better alert the brain! [Stab stab stab.] Your brain says, Ouch! Okay, dude, I’ve got it. But your body refuses to shut the hell up. [Stab stab stab.]
Not so, says a new study published in Nature on Aug. 21. You’re not wracked with pain because of your body’s immune response, but because of the bacteria itself. The pain associated with MRSA isn’t your body trying to alert you to the problem; it’s actually one of the effects of the problem. "We found that major parts of the immune system are not necessary for pain during infection, but that bacteria themselves are the source of much of the pain,” says Isaac Chiu, PhD, the study's lead author.
The whole study came about because Chiu and coauthor Christian A. Von Hehn, MD, PhD, wanted to see what would happen when they cultured sensory neurons and immune cells in the same petri dish. Much to their surprise, the neurons responded to the bacteria “immediately,” says Chiu.
The study made another surprising discovery: Once pain neurons can tell that nasty invading bacteria are present, the immune system should leap into action to fight off the intruders, right? Because that's supposedly the whole point of pain neurons and an immune system and all those other intricate bits. But the scientists instead observed that the pain neurons suppressed the immune system.
It seems like a terrible idea. Something hurts! the pain neurons are apparently tweeting their friends. Let's totally not raise the alarm. Pretend everything's fine! How did it evolve that way in the first place? The question needs to be studied a lot more, but Chiu hypothesizes that our neurons might be trying to protect our body from the additional damage caused by inflammation, part of the immune system response. (Inflammation, though useful in battling infection, can cause damage to the body when it happens too often.) Those wily bacteria just might be taking advantage of a loophole.
Figuring out how pain and MRSA go hand-in-horrible-hand isn't merely an academic question. The hope is that studies like these will help doctors and scientists figure out how to deal with other serious infections and eliminate the pain that inevitably comes along with them. Let’s hope they do it soon, because ouch.