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V.23 No.11 | 3/13/2014
T.J. Miller
TheeErin via Wikimedia Commons

Comedy Matters

T.J. Miller, Vulnerability and the Mind of a Comic

Genevieve Mueller dishes on lessons learned in comedy clubs and onstage.

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V.23 No.6 | 2/6/2014
El Rincon Farm in Chimayó, NM
usda.gov

Opinion

The Chile Bowl

Yawn-inducing state rivalry obscures GMO issue

Captain America’s august Alibi fireside chat examines extant native New Mexican chile, bread and circuses, agribusiness, farmers and GMOs.

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news

The Daily Word in Coca-Cola's split, a two-headed pig and Senate battles

Retired FBI agent Robert Levinson has vanished in Iran, and according to AP, he was doing some work for the CIA.

The Democrats and Republicans are duking it out in the Senate … well, not physically.

Coca-Cola's split in two? What should we do?

Authorities say up to four people were stabbed outside the Sports Authority Field after the Denver Broncos lost to the San Diego Chargers.

A SWAT “situation” has ended peacefully after shots were reported at a home in Rio Rancho.

An Albuquerque school bus driver has been accused of punching a student in the face as he was headed home from Eisenhower Middle School.

The City has paid $900,000 to the family of an unarmed man who was shot and killed by APD in 2011.

Rio Grande High School transformed its gym into Italy for one of its students who has been battling leukemia for the past year.

You ever see a two-headed pig? I wouldn't recommend it.

news

The Daily Word in Gallup exposure deaths, Rick Springfield buttocks-assault and a foam-party death arrest

Ski Santa Fe opens on Thanksgiving Day

Ski Santa Fe will open on Thanksgiving!

It's not really winter in New Mexico until some people freeze to death in Gallup.

The Whittington brothers have been presented with a plethora of search warrants, including one executed by the DEA at their car dealership in Albuquerque.

Some folks really don't want the Albuquerque parole offices to move downtown.

State Police made an arrest in connection with the "teen foam-party death."

There is now a ginormous Rough Trade record store in Brooklyn.

Mistrial declared in case involving alleged injury sustained from assault by Rick Springfield's ass.

There is a Velvet Underground song you probably have not heard!

Mushrooms make breezes.

Keep off the grass man.

Time to check in with awesome stupid chatroulette.

The Buddha may be older than we thought.

The site of the real Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Is Charles Manson getting married to a freaky-deaky 25 year old Susan Atkins look-alike!?

Bro, we did too leave a damn tip.

A can of Soylent Green was auctioned for 2000 bucks.

Comedy

Seize the Comedy

Mile High in the 505

Jordan Doll
photo by Tatiana Timmins
Jordan Doll

A few months ago, I wrote about Denver’s successful High Plains Comedy Festival, which spotlighted such high profile alt-comics as Reggie Watts and Kurt Braunohler. Denver, just a few hours up I-25, is becoming a major port of comedy—and with its success, Albuquerque’s comedy scene grows, too.

Producer and comic Dawn Schary recently created Carpe Diem Comedy, a standup show at Imbibe (3101 Central NE) every first Thursday. It’s the only monthly show in the Nob Hill area and is already bringing in high quality talent from the burgeoning Denver scene. Schary’s stage persona is foul-mouthed and often brutally honest, but as her day-to-day self, the comic cheerfully explains, “My vision is to connect nearby comedy scenes, and to make ABQ an obvious place to hit on a young comic's tour.”

Nathan Lund
photo by Crystal Allen
Nathan Lund

For this month’s show, comic Jordan Doll travels down from the Mile High city to riff on monsters, video games and wizards. On stage he skillfully tackles paranormal scenarios, a theme he carries into his comedy podcast “Werewolf Radar.”

Fellow Denver comic Nathan Lund, one-fourth of the comedy group Fine Gentleman’s Club, also takes the helm at Carpe Diem Comedy this month. Watching Lund onstage is like watching a very well-read mountain man expertly navigate a laser beam field—he weaves smartly through jokes about his weight, politics and passive-aggressive lovemaking skills.

Functioning as a bridge between ABQ and Denver comedy, the Nov. 7 Carpe Diem Comedy show is a blend of extremely absurd, silly and politically charged comedy. Show starts at 7pm and is absolutely and magically free.

Carpe Diem Presents 1st Thursday Comedy

Thursday, Nov. 7, 7pm

Imbibe
3101 Central NE
imbibenobhill.com, 255-4200
FREE
Comedy

Finding Reggie Watts

An Albuquerque comedian’s adventures in Denver

Comedy superstar Reggie Watts can be a hard man to track down.
Noah Kalina
Comedy superstar Reggie Watts can be a hard man to track down.
Noon the second day of the inaugural High Plains Comedy Festival and about 15 of us hungover comics piled into a party bus and headed to the mountains for a day of swimming at El Dorado springs. The bus filled with Colorado-legalized pot smoke, the Pabst Blue Ribbon flowed, and comic Kurt Braunohler sat in a sink just to catch a ride. As we made our way up the mountain, it occurred to me: The comedy scene in Denver is less a “scene” and more a constant party with amazingly funny people taking turns holding court.

Most festivals are run by comedy clubs, but High Plains, much like The Bridgetown Comedy Fest in Portland, was created by comics. Organized by Denver’s local and national headliner Adam Cayton-Holland and his business partner Andy Juett, it was not only an overwhelming success, but it highlighted the major talent coming out of Denver and brought in comedy legend Reggie Watts.

Watts drew me to the festival. He is a rare talent. His often absurd music illustrates his comedic wit and is embedded with politically and socially charged lyrics. He rarely passes through the Southwest, so when I heard he was the headliner of High Plains, I immediately set out to meet the comedy superstar. My mission and mantra for the festival became “Find Reggie Watts.”

My quest began Friday night at 3 Kings Tavern on Denver’s South Broadway, a divey bar full of that old beer-soaked wood smell. On the outside, it looked like just a bar on a strip of other bars, but that night it was host to national headlining comics such as Matt Braunger, Kyle Kinane and Cameron Esposito, who all performed on a small stage to a sold-out audience. The show that night at 3 Kings was incredible. Esposito was definitely a highlight with her insightful punchlines. Braunger hit hard, as well, and destroyed the audience with his rant about sipping Jägerbombs like an adult.

Play Youtube Video
Watts’ “Fuck Shit Stack” is surprisingly cerebral but isn’t for the faint of heart.
As I made my way through the packed crowd searching for Watts, I came across quick-witted Esposito, whose recent advice to new male comics went viral. One piece of her wisdom was, “Dress to show off your penis. Or, if you don’t have the best penis, try to go for like a dick next door thing. Wear a hoodie on your penis, you know?” About the festival, she said, “I am so proud and appreciative of this. It’s hard to put on a comic-run festival because you have a job as a comic, and you’re probably broke, but for Andy [Juett] and Adam [Cayton-Holland] to bring in such quality people is great.” Watts never showed at 3 Kings, so I walked the few blocks north to Hi-Dive, another bar, and caught New York-based comic Sean Patton, whose sheer energy on stage made the crowd putty in his hands.

At Friday night’s end, I landed at the open bar after-party in the dark basement of a Buffalo Exchange. I had a few drinks and pondered riding the conveyor belt. As my arm reached to push the “on” button, the store manager quickly intervened and informed me, “It’s quite dangerous and not for recreational use.” Plan thwarted, I continued my search for Watts. So far he was a no-show at any of the venues.

On day two, the Gothic Theatre, an Old West-looking space with balcony seating, was sold out for back-to-back shows. The early show by the Grawlix company had a shirtless Cayton-Holland and Andrew Orvedahl stretch the stress of the festival away as Ben Roy did squats and tried to get the crowd to do synchronized crossfit. Their opening sketch as yoga enthusiasts killed the crowd and set the bar high for the night. Then came the second show and finally Reggie Watts. When host Chris Charpentier introduced him and Watts emerged, the audience went wild. His performance consisted of his absurdist musical comedy with heavy synth beats and improvised lyrics like “bleach is for bitches” followed by nonsensical gibberish that was funnier than most meticulously crafted one-liners. Note after note and beat box after beat box, the intensity of the crowd grew. At 20 minutes his show was surprisingly short, and yet Watts channeled the energy of the audience and triumphantly crushed the sold-out crowd.

When the show ended, I went to the after party at a local comic’s house. At about 1:15am, I saw him. Finally it had happened. I’d found Reggie Watts.There he was, a few feet from me, amongst the thick green vines of the lush Colorado backyard. I had so many things to ask him. What did he think about comic-run festivals? What advice could he give comics who want to improvise? Would he have ridden the conveyor belt? I started the conversation by saying that his show was great. He replied, “Thank you, it’s so great to be here amongst such love and great company.”

With his improvised songs, Watts doesn’t prefer preparation and instead relishes pure comedy “that forms organically.” He is a man of few words. His comedy presence may be boisterous and surreal, especially in music hits like “Fuck Shit Stack,” but he is kind, warm and slightly shy in person. His comedy comes from his need to do a social good and spread, as he says, “love and love.” Maybe it was my timing, maybe it was the booze, but just as I had started to talk to him about comedy, Reggie Watts slipped away.

It was exciting to watch greats like Watts on stage and briefly talk with him afterwards about his urge to do comedy, yet I think a part of me was looking for more than “love” as the catalyst for such a comedy legend. It makes me wonder what I found at High Plains. Was it Watts? Or was it a communion with like minds? While looking for Watts on this journey through the festival, I was witness to one reason why comedians do comedy. It’s because they can take anything, even a bus ride into the mountains or a backyard party, and make it an exciting adventure into the unknown, bolstered by a common goal to bring joy into the world. As Juett says, this fest “reaffirm[ed] that comedy as something to fight for is always, always worth it.”

More Videos

Comedy

Attention Burqueños: Head north for comedy

Kurt Braunohler’s new comedy album
Kurt Braunohler’s new comedy album
I called comedian Kurt Braunohler right after one of our Albuquerque monsoons—a real gully washer. The cell reception was sketchy and my phone cut out. I called back and, for the rest of the interview, just to keep him on the line, I had to lean out the window, balancing my computer on my lap, all while under the disapproving glare of my neighbor. Braunohler’s comedy explores those awkward moments in our lives, so nearly falling from the second floor of my house while being silently judged was, in a way, a fitting interview format.

Braunohler, who will feature in Denver’s High Plains Comedy Festival next week, started his career in comedy after college when he took improv classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York. During this time he met Kristen Schaal, the stalker lady from HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords,” and together they created the weekly live variety show “Hot Tub,” now based in L.A. Braunohler’s jokes are big—literally big. He recently raised $6,000 on Kickstarter to hire a skywriting plane to write “How Do I Land?” above Los Angeles.

Braunohler has done everything: improv, sketch and stand-up. Although he only started stand-up about five years ago, he says he prefers this medium of comedy because “it’s a high-stakes scenario…When doing improv, the audience is on your side. They want you to succeed. Even if the improv just barely works everyone is excited for you. But people have very strong opinions about what stand-up is and sometimes the crowd seems to say ‘prove to me that you’re funny.’” Braunohler says he likes this contention, these high stakes, because ultimately the goal of comedy is “to show a level of vulnerability that makes connections with the audience.” To do this, Braunohler says, “No topic can be off-limits, and you can’t be embarrassed about anything.” This sentiment is echoed in his stand-up. Braunohler’s comedy is at times surreal. In one Vine—the short looping video clips so beloved on Twitter—he places googly eyes on an ice cream cone and calls it his little buddy. At other times his work is more personal and reflective. He explores the absurdities of life on his new comedy album, How Do I Land?, released by the venerable indie music label Kill Rock Stars.

Braunohler is excited for next week’s High Plains festival, when comedians from all over the country will swarm Denver for the first major comedy fest in the region. The inaugural High Plains Comedy Festival is headlined by comic genius Reggie Watts, features the brilliant Braunohler and will be packed with Denver comics. Over the past few years, the Denver comedy scene has expanded and flourished, churning out such national headliners as Ben Kronberg and T.J. Miller. As the talent pool has grown, so has the focus on Denver as a key producer of comedy and, in turn, the Southwest as an emerging comedy region. “This is an experiment for Denver and I think anything could happen,” Braunohler reflects. “I can’t wait to see all the comics.”

Take the short trip to the Mile High city and see Watts, Braunohler and 40 other comedians at the High Plains Comedy Festival on Aug. 23 and 24. The Southwest is starting to make a name for itself in the comedy world, and this festival will highlight the area as a place that can bring in big names.

High Plains Comedy Festival

Friday and Saturday, Aug. 23 and 24

various venues around Denver, Colorado

Tickets: $19.75 to $65.00
highplainscomedyfestival.com
Music

Prepare your mountaintops

Jeff Mangum
Will Deitz
Jeff Mangum
Jeff Mangum is coming! Jeff Mangum is coming!

Neutral Milk Hotel super-fan Mike Smith shares an essay deconstructing the man, the myth, the legend as prelude to Jeff Mangum’s Tuesday concert in The Fe. Read Inside Jeff Mangum’s Aeroplane for all the deets. Peep related A/V below. The Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe • Jeff Mangum with Tall Firs • Tue Apr 2 • 7:30 pm • $20-$32 • ALL-AGES! • lensic.org

Play Youtube Video
Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

Play Youtube Video
Neutral Milk Hotel - On Avery Island

More Videos

V.22 No.13 | 3/28/2013
Jeff Mangum
Will Deitz

Aural Fixation

Inside Jeff Mangum’s Aeroplane

Jeff Mangum doesn’t do interviews, so Alibi music columnist (and super-fan) Mike Smith penned an essay that deconstructs the Neutral Milk Hotel phenom and serves as a reminder of Mangum’s inimitable voice and persona.
View in Alibi calendar calendar

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dreams

Rowdy’s Dream Blog #280: She gives me a white, gaudy leather jacket.

I am back in college, visiting two girls (Reese Witherspoon and Lara Flynn Boyle.) L is very tall and smells good. A guy named Kenny sits on the floor fixing a fish tank for them. We shake hands awkwardly. We all take a walk down the street, two by two, me with L. We are in downtown Denver. We cross the street. L suddenly has an idea and we return home. I give R a "chicken" crochet sweater. She seems to love it and puts it on over the sweater she's wearing. We discuss her "color." She lets on that she knows about my painting method. She gives me a white, gaudy leather jacket with appliqued colored trinkets. I try it on. It is very stiff and my hands don't seem to fit through the sleeve holes. I do some Russian accent shtick, rather unfunny, with my brother. He pulls on my hand, but pulls me forward and I fall over the couch.

Music

New whorled order convenes Saturday


[click to enlarge]

This week’s Flyer on the Wall spirals out of control to invite psych-lovers out to see Denver’s Thee Dang Dangs and locals CanyonLands, Terri Schiavo Dance Party and The Fucking Adventures at Iron Haus (715 Iron SW) on Saturday night. Check out work by performing acts below.

Thee Dang Dangs - “Stone Coast”
CanyonLands - “The Tree Stood Up to the Lightning”
Terri Schiavo Dance Party - “Breaking Bad”
The Fucking Adventures - “Four” (demo)

More Videos

V.21 No.49 | 12/6/2012

[click to enlarge]

Flyer on the Wall

Psych Out

This week’s Flyer on the Wall uses spirograph style to hip Burque residents to a psych-rock show at Iron Haus.

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news

The Daily Word in the Octomom, earthquakes and Marley’s Mellow Mood.

Iran captured an American drone, it claims.

An earthquake rocked Anchorage.

News Corp. is shutting down its iPad newspaper, The Daily.

Shakira’s ex-boyfriend is suing her for $100 million.

A magician’s hair caught on fire.

Asperger’s disorder is no longer a psychiatric diagnosis.

Unborn babies battle in the womb.

The Czechs indicted Lamb of God’s singer on manslaughter charges.

There will be no apocalypse, Russians claim.

Spiders are getting bigger.

Cats eat pizza.

Animals yawn.

Denver’s UFOs might just be bugs.

James Bond is everywhere.

Celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D has a stalker.

Marley’s Mellow Mood made kids sick.

Octomom's porn video was nominated for four AVN awards.

A Deming deputy shot himself.

Somebody was watching porn in a former cop’s house.

Look for stolen cars at the Motel 6 on Alameda.

Happy birthday Fred Armisen.

Thanks to Chris Johnson, Constance Moss and Susan Petersen for the link help.

news

The Daily Word in Colorado movie massacre, unlicensed tattoo parlors, Scottish train drunks

At least 12 dead as gunman opens fire at Dark Knight Rises midnight showing in Denver suburb.

President Obama responds.

Young sportscaster who died in the shootings had written her last blog on a separate massacre.

State officials confirm 48 tattoo parlors operating without licenses in New Mexico.

City’s clean water supply may be jeopardized by millions of gallons of spilled, underground jet fuel.

Details being withheld on slain Virginia reporter.

Live updates on this weekend’s British Open.

Jeremy Lin on his three-year, $25 million deal with the Rockets.

Yay, Albuquerque is not among AARP’s list of the top five most dangerous U.S. cities.

You can no longer get blitzed on Scottish trains.

V.21 No.29 | 7/19/2012

Have Fork, Will Travel

Denver on a Dime

Eating up a long weekend in the Mile High City

Denver is a big city with the easy-going personality of the mountain states. While it’s not much bigger than Albuquerque in square miles, it’s denser in population and infrastructure. The city is a warren of neighborhoods with names like Capitol Hill, LoDo and Cherry Creek, and I’ve watched them mature over 30-odd years of visiting friends and relatives there.

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