Words Afire Theatre Festival
For the fourth year in a row, students from UNM's Robert Hartung Dramatic Writing Program will torch Albuquerque theaters across the city with the heat of their fiery words. Words Afire gives these young writers, along with other UNM theater students, a golden chance to take part in every aspect of a major theater festival.
Support our much-abused troops by giving our Commander in Chief the finger and also by stopping by Expo New Mexico for the Sixth Annual New Mexico Veterans' Art Exhibit. Paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, pottery and other artwork by New Mexico military veterans, along with active duty military and reservists, will be on display in the Fine Arts Gallery, opening with a reception on Friday, Nov. 7, at 6:30 p.m. The show will run Saturdays and Sundays over the next two weekends. For details, call 281-5765.
Mark Chavez and Shenoah Allen were in especially fine form earlier this year when they presented their surreal comic monstrosity, Sabotage: In Fine Form, at the Vortex Theatre. After six months of touring this wack-job theatrical cartoon to sold-out venues all over the U.S. and Canada, the show's gotten so sharp it'll poke your eye out. In other words, the boys'll be in even finer form when they return to the Guild for a final weekend of goofy mind-bending antics on Thursday, Nov. 6, through Saturday, Nov. 8, at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and worth every penny. 255-1848.
Have you ever descended into the bowels of the First Plaza Galeria, that underground mall at the corner of Second and Tijeras? It's a whole other world down there. Quite a nice place, actually. There's been a couple fine art galleries down there for many years, and recently the Galeria has been blessed with a new one.
From the slums of East Los Angeles, the mono-named visual magician Gronk rose to become one of the most widely respected Chicano artists of his generation. He's had major one-man museum shows all over the country, but he's never had a solo show in New Mexico. Until now, that is. Santa Fe's Price-Dewey Gallery will open a new exhibit of Gronk's recent work this Friday, Nov. 7, with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. It'll definitely be worth a jaunt up to the City Deviant for Codex: Gronk, which runs through Dec. 10. For details, call the gallery at (505) 982-8632.
on the middle-eastern flavors at his new restaurant
The sign has been posted for weeks now, letting us know that something new was coming on Central near the University. Last week, Yasmine's Café (1600 Central SE, 242-1980) opened at last.
Yeah, sushi! A restaurant called Sushi King opened this week in the Century 14 Theatres Complex. It has taken over the space formerly occupied by Comida Loca and Sugar Plums Coffee House (Central between First and Second). The restaurant is a partnership between sushi chef Sam Buttaracha and his sister, Kathy Pussadee Punya. Punya is no stranger to the building as she was one of the original partners in Thai Crystal (Gold between First and Second) before leaving to open her own restaurant, Thai Dining (1225 Eubank). Punya says that she and her brother had long wanted to open a sushi restaurant but it was Pat Bryan of the Historic District Improvement Company and Downtown Action Team who convinced her to consider the space for a new restaurant. The brother-and-sister team serve sushi as well as a variety of noodle dishes with cooked seafood and vegetables. Sushi king seats about 48 people and is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. They have applied for a beer and wine license and hope to eventually do a lot of catering and delivery business. The phone number is 842-5099.
I swear it really doesn't get any better than this. I only wish I had been there myself. Week before last, the new Blimpie/Pasta Central Downtown was promoting its grand opening by sending a costumed mascot (a bear) out into the street to draw attention to the new store and hand out coupons. Good idea, right? Well it was only a few days until the nearby Quizno's decided to get in on the action by sending out their own mascot, a giant beverage cup they call the Q Cup. Both mascots pounded the pavement for a day or so, hawking their sub sandwiches. And then the inevitable happened. Friendly competition erupted into a scuffle on the sidewalk between the Q Cup and the Blimpie Bear. The Blimpie manager told me that the Q Cup started it, pushing the Blimpie bear from behind and causing her (yes, the person inside the suit was a young woman) to fall down. The Quizno's manager didn't exactly deny that the Q Cup started the fight but insisted that it was all in good fun. Both sides agree there are no hard feelings and promise to keep it clean from now on. And we had just gotten over the hot dog fight, too. What's next?
Sometimes it's fun to get dressed up and go someplace fancy
Attention, booze-hounds: there's a new saloon in town and it is definitely worth investigating. Last month the Sheraton Old Town unveiled the briefly-named Q Bar. In case you're wondering, Q may be the shortest nickname yet for Albuquerque. Just as there are always people who insist that nobody actually calls the city Burque, some will ask, "who ever called it Q?" Well, they might now. The name is as remarkable as the place.
It's time to bust out the marigolds and sugar skulls. Over at In Crowd, a sizzling Día de Los Muertos celebration will be held on Saturday, Nov. 1, from 3 to 7 p.m. Cherie Austin will lead a free sugar-skull-decorating session from 3 to 4 p.m. Mariachi Amor Eterno will provide some mariachi grooves from 5 to 6 p.m. There'll be a Muerto costume contest at 6 p.m. with the winner receiving a $100 shopping spree. Expect lots of good (but deadly) munchies along with cool Day of the Dead art by the likes of Arnold Puentes, Nick Otero, Jeff Sipe, Johnny Salas, Kenny Chavez and Steve White. For details, call 268-3750.
Millet to Matisse at the Albuquerque Museum
Such a seething crowd at the Albuquerque Museum on a Thursday afternoon is a very rare sight. A sizeable line snaked in front of the ticket counter. Inside, the main gallery was filled with people eager to see the exhibit that everyone in town has been talking about for a month.
New Mexico seems like the perfect place to hunt for ghost towns. We've got the high desert atmosphere, the mining history, the extreme poverty—what more do you want? I have to say, though, I've been all over most of this state, and I haven't had much success in locating any good examples. Linda Harris' new book Ghost Towns Alive might be the divining rod I'm searching for. With coverage of 70 ghost towns around the state, I'm told the book is the definitive guide to ghost towns in New Mexico. Harris will be at Page One (11200 Montgomery NE, 294-2026) on Saturday, Nov. 1, at 11 a.m.
Graceful blood-suckers in capes will prance and dance across the stage when the New Mexico Ballet Company brings its Halloween extravaganza, Dracula, to Popejoy Hall on Friday, Oct. 31, and Saturday, Nov. 1. With over 60 dancers, over a dozen different classical and contemporary musical numbers, great costumes, creepy special effects, monsters and a high-flying, long-in-the-tooth protagonist, this performance should be a ghoulish delight for ballet fans of all ages. Tickets are $12, $18 and $25. The audience is encouraged to wear costumes. Prizes for the best costume will be awarded during intermission. (I advise wearing a thick scarf as well.) To order tickets, call 925-5858.
St. John's College
With work in the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and Musée d'Art Contemporain, and a distinguished career that stretches back 40 years, Larry Bell is certainly one of our best living abstract artists. In a new exhibit opening Friday, Oct. 31, at the St. John's College Art Gallery in Santa Fe, Bell's innovative works on paper will be exhibited exclusively for the first time. A reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. The exhibit will continue through Nov. 23. It'll be well worth your time to make the trek up to Santa Fe to see this incredible show. For details, call (505) 984-6199.
According to the 2004 Zagat guide to New York City restaurants, 73 percent of diners said the smoking ban had no effect on their dining frequency, while 23 percent report eating out more and 4 percent are eating out less. Though I'm sure there are still some restaurant owners and smokers who are still—shall we say fuming?—about Albuquerque's smoking ban, it seems that, as in New York, most restaurant patrons are thrilled about the change. Virtually all of the feedback I've gotten since the ban went into effect this summer has been positive. There are enough destinations in the city that have continued to allow smoking (because they do sell food, but more booze than food) that dedicated fumeurs can still eat while simultaneously drinking and smoking. Meanwhile, many happy diners have turned their focus to the smokiness in bars, an issue that is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon since the majority of residents (and the city council) seem to see bars as safe territory for smokers.
A combination Blimpie/Pasta Central is now open at Fourth and Central, joining Quizno's, on the same block, and Schlotzky's one block down. The restaurant took the long-vacant former UDH building and created a small outdoor seating area and indoor space with tables and booths. If you've never been, Blimpie is a close relative of both Subway and Quizno's, with assembly line sub sandwiches following the Subway model with the added Quizno's twist of optional toasting. How does it taste? I figure it's somewhere in the middle. In my opinion, toasting improves upon a regular sub but the Blimpie folks don't seem to have the same toasting skill as Quizno's, meaning their subs tend to come out squashed like a pancake and unevenly toasted. The pasta side of the menu involves Southern Italian dishes like chicken Parmigiana, lasagna, manicotti, fettuccini Alfredo and small pizzas.
Start acclimating now with butter tarts
It's common for my fellow liberals to claim that we're moving to Canada whenever the right wing in this country does something particularly idiotic. I would have made this claim myself when the Gropenator was elected governor of California, but the sweet satisfaction of Rush Limbaugh admitting that he was a junkie who sent his housekeeper out to score for him was enough to keep me sticking around.
But "winter squashes" are for grown-ups with a taste for Latin-American fare
Halloween brings pumpkins into grocery stores by the truck-load. Sadly, most of us buy these big fat squashes, put them out on the stoop (carved if we're feeling creative) and then let them rot out there for weeks, until the once fearsome face droops and sags and develops a waddle to rival a Thanksgiving turkey. If you've got an un-carved pumpkin or even just pumpkin seeds left over after Halloween then have a look at these warm and cozy fall dishes adapted from Elisabeth Luard's new book, The Latin American Kitchen (Laurel Glen, hardcover, $27.95). It's a gorgeous volume full of descriptions of the most common Latin American ingredients and full-color photographs—a must-have.