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The results are in: Best of Burque 2013!
The apex of Albuquerqueness as determined by popular vote (not editorial fiat)
Best Bike Trail, Best City Politician to be Awarded a Medal, Best News Anchor We Want to Wear a Cowboy Hat for an Entire Broadcast, Best “Breaking Bad” Location and more winners in essential Burqueñosity. You know you want to know, so we hereby bestow upon you Best of Burque 2013!
Buy locally made goods online
Thanks to cottage industry supersite Etsy, you can buy holiday gifts made by people in your city. Amy Dalness outlines her favorite items in this week’s feature: Etsy-Querque. She also lists great local businesses with rad gift options. Keep the cash circulating in our stretch of desert.
And hey, did you know one of the Etsy founders is a Burqueño?
Eat Like a Local
A guide for the discriminating tourist
The Balloon Fiesta is pretty much a morning-only affair, so that leaves you tourists plenty of time to explore our funky, fascinating city. I’ve compiled a list of some uniquely Albuquerquean destination points, and nearby places to grab a bite. Enjoy!
Operation Art Box returns!
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
It’s like Christmas around here when the revamped distribution cubes start making their way back to our office. The project, conceived by Circulation Manager Geoffrey Plant, asks local artists to overhaul those blue cubes that house the Alibi each week. Plant delivers the boxes to the artists, and then, a month later, picks them all back up. The staff here gets all excited as the cubes roll back into our offices.
Truly, the artists’ good work is fuel for us. You know how creativity is.
Plant penned a feature this week on all of the participants. Their nonbox artwork is also still being displayed at Boro Gallery (317 Gold SW) through the end of the month.
Deming Gun Trial Ends but Larger Closure Remains Elusive
Less than a day after we went to press with this week’s feature profiling the Reese family of Deming and their trial for conspiracy, false statements and gun smuggling, the jury returned with a verdict.
Three of the family members were found guilty of making false statements on federal ATF forms. U.S. government prosecutors insisted throughout the trial that the Reeses knowingly sold weapons to so-called straw buyers, or middlemen, who were purchasing guns on behalf of dangerous Mexican drug cartels. Apparently the jury agreed, to a limited extent.
Yet with the possible exception of 20-year-old Remington (acquitted of all charges), it’s still hard to find the clear winner in this case.
The Reeses’ lives will certainly never be the same. Three of them are now convicted felons facing more jail time. While they may be able to petition for the restoration of their gun ownership rights, I doubt the ATF (which launched the undercover investigation of the family) will let them return to their longtime livelihoods of gun dealing.
The agency itself has been raked over the coals for losing track of guns that were purchased out of Arizona by known “straw buyers,” or middlemen. Many of those guns were subsequently trafficked into Mexico and used to deadly effect.
And the trial opened on the heels of a successful (and largely partisan) effort to hold U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt over Operation Fast and Furious. Supporters of the family that I spoke to outside of the courtroom were convinced that the U.S. government was trying to use the case to deflect attention away from their own malfeasance.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Crimes of the Anasazi: Getting busted in Downtown’s embattled high-rise
It wasn’t a good idea. We knew that at the time, but I guess we thought we would get away with it.
On March 23, 2011, Mike Smith and I took the bus down Central through Albuquerque’s neon-lit Downtown. We were headed toward the Anasazi building. At nine stories tall, it towered over other buildings on the block, and its pueblo-influenced, multitier design gave its dark, empty windows romantic intrigue. Could we get in? What was inside? What would it be like to be one of the few people who had looked out of those lofty windows?
Near the very top of its eastern face, there was a tantalizing sign that entry was possible: A graffiti rainbow coursed from the rooftop down the bare side. If that artist could get in, so could we. We didn’t think about what would happen if we got caught; we just wanted to see it from the inside.
Chaly / CC by-S.A. 2.0
Is “Megadrought” the new normal?
We've all heard the gloomy scenarios of global warming: extreme weather, drought, famine, breakdown of society, destruction of civilization. Here in New Mexico it feels like we’ve made the switch from esoteric to actual, from computer model to daily life. My perch in Placitas feels like a front-row seat to the apocalypse. Smoke is in the air. Neighbors are fighting over water. Some of my outdoor flower pots have melted in the heat. Wild animals are getting thirsty, hungry and bold. It turns out, this might just be the new normal for the American Southwest.
More Wisdom Than Years
Sometimes journalism is difficult because the sources aren't forthcoming or polished speakers, requiring extra effort to tease compelling morsels out of interview material. This week’s cover story was difficult for the opposite reason: Every single person I contacted was articulate, knowledgable, insightful and well-spoken. Their statements were thought-provoking and their stories inspiring. Lissa, a member of the Transgender Resource Center's youth group was no exception, though what she shared with me didn't make it into the print edition.
“Like most transgender people, I've known that I was trans for a really long time,” she told me.
In 8th grade, after confessing in confidence to one of her best friends that she was trans, he outed her to the entire school. Coming out to her mother wasn't any easier.
“I was really suicidal for a time, and my mom walked in on what was my second attempt. My first was when I was little, but I chickened out, thankfully.” Lissa said her mother still struggles to accept who she really is, but “she's of the mindset that it's better to have another daughter than a dead son. It's not accepting, but it's at least tolerant.”
Lissa's journey through adolescence has been eased somewhat by a doctor's prescription for testosterone blockers, an active Gay-Straight Alliance group at school and a supportive group of friends. She's also found an outlet on YouTube where she posts videos aimed at other young people struggling to reconcile their gender identity.
When I told Lissa that she and other youth group members seemed much so much more mature than their age, she theorized that it comes with the territory of their experiences.
“You're making very mature decisions about your life. You grow up really fast, and you grow up hiding because from a very young age you know something's different and you're going to be hated for it.”