Houston-based El Paso Corporation hopes to use close ties to the White House to gain drilling access to Valle Vidal. But not without a fight.
By Jeremy Vesbach
Talk to anyone who's spent at least an hour there, or to many of the area residents who have spent decades exploring the area, and they'll tell you the Valle Vidal is one of the most beautiful places in New Mexico. It's got 2,500 elk. It's got wild turkeys. Its got Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout, the second largest Bristlecone Pine Tree in the world, and has even been ranked third best camping area in America (according to GORP.com). It's got excellent mountain biking, an awesome geological feature known as the rock wall, forested peaks, flowing meadows and clear mountain streams. It's got 750,000 Boy Scout alumni with memories of a 12-day outdoor adventure there or at the neighboring Philmont Boy Scout Ranch. More than 2,700 people from around the world apply for a chance to hunt elk there every year.
A new generation of homegrown scientists. With all the brainiac scientists supposedly doing brilliant work over at Sandia Labs, it only made sense to Mayor Marty Chavez that Albuquerque Public Schools somehow build a conduit to all that higher intelligence. So more than 18 months ago, Chavez and the presidents of UNM and New Mexico Tech met with Paul Robinson, Sandia Labs' president, Joey Vigil, the superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools at the time and local business executives to hatch a plan for a new high-tech high school. It would be a public school where local students with a knack for math and science could refine their skills and carve a career path that might some day boost the local economy.
Missing the point. If you picked up the AlbuquerqueJournal on Friday, April 9, in hopes of getting some solid coverage of Condoleeza Rice's testimony before the 9-11 Commission last week, what you got was a truncated "analysis" originating from the Washington Post.
If we've heard it once, we've heard it a hundred times in the past 10 months: The state's Medicaid budget is spiraling out of control. That's what Gov. Bill Richardson said, the legislative leaders warned, the policy wonks opined and some political pundits editorialized.
At the April 5 meeting, city councilors unanimously passed the administration's latest version of a sex offender bill, which deletes three provisions in a previous bill struck down by the courts. The extension of a moratorium on walls built along streets until new design standards are finished also passed unanimously. Councilor Sally Mayer was absent.
I've had writer's block for the past couple of weeks. At other times when that's happened I have a difficult time pinpointing the reason, but I'm clear what the cause is in this case. It's name is Chuck and he passed away last month. Until I say a few words for him, writing about the blarney of local, state and national politics just isn't going to happen.
Dateline: England—Yana Rodionova has agreed to marry circus performer Jayde Hanson, despite the fact that Hanson has stabbed her three times—once on live television. Rodionova, 23, is the assistant to Hanson, who works as a professional knife thrower. Last year, Hanson tried to break his world record for the number of knives thrown around his assistant. Unfortunately, the stunt—which was filmed for ITV's "This Morning" show—went wrong when one of the knives struck Rodionova in the head. The bloody scene was broadcast to millions of viewers. Hanson blamed the accident on fatigue. Miss Rodionova suffered minor injuries. "It didn't hurt because of the shock of it all," Rodionova recently told the British press. "I felt more sorry for Jayde. There was blood coming out everywhere and he looked so pale." The Russian-born Rodionova admitted, "I fell out of love with him for a couple days afterwards, but I love him again now." Although the mishap was actually the third time Hanson nailed her with one of his knives, she agreed to marry him soon after. "I forgive him. It was only an accident, but I think I will have to teach him to do something else." The couple is expected to tie the knot in May.
Alibi Spring Crawl 2004 is just around the bend (Saturday, April 24, in the heart of Downtown), so the time has come to convey a little information as roughly 12,000 of you gear up for the first major event of spring. As reported two weeks ago, this year's Spring Crawl will feature two national acts: Detroit '80s rockers The Romantics and San Francisco psych-rockers The Brian Jonestown Massacre. In Crawls to come, we'll gradually invite more national acts in an effort to diversify and attract regional and national attention to the events. But rest assured that the Crawls will always emphasize local music. ... Please note that wristband prices have increased on day of show to $20. Do the smart thing and get your cheap, all-access (with valid and proper I.D.) passes in advance through Saturday, April 23, at noon in one of four exciting, convenient ways: buy them on the Alibi website HERE; buy them at Natural Sound in Nob Hill (255-8295); buy them at Alibi Headquarters (411 Central NW); or by them from Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com or 883-7800). Beginning at 12:01 p.m. on Saturday, April 24, a wristband you could have purchased for just 15 bucks will cost you an Andrew Jackson. Pick up next week's issue, on stands Thursday, April 22, for all the details, complete venue schedules, maps, guides and all the Alibi Spring Crawl-related news you'll need. Now, go buy a wristband and prepare to join the fun!
Since the mid-'70s when guitarist Little Charlie Baty and harmonicist Rick Estrin first teamed up, Little Charlie and the Nightcats have been spreading their unique combination of Chicago blues, Texas swing, rockabilly—even surf music—across the States and Europe. And since the release of All the Way Crazy, their Alligator Records debut in 1987, the band have garnered raves from critics and fans alike, as well as a handful of Grammy nominations and a W.C. Handy award along the way. They've served as backing band for contemporary blues legend John Hammond on two phenomenal blues recordings and have toured with everyone from Robert Cray to the Allman Brothers.
Friday, April 16; Stella Blue (21 and over, 9 p.m.): When you think of bluegrass, your mind is drawn across the turnpike into the Delaware River Valley in the heart of New Jersey. OK, so New Jersey's among the last places in America you'd look if you were seeking the best newgrass jam band in the country, but it turns out that the Garden State is the birthplace of that very band: Railroad Earth. The sextet features some of the finest bluegass musicians working today, evidenced by recent invitations to play at some of the most prestigious bluegrass festivals in the world—Telluride and Grey Fox.
Sunday, April 18; Lensic Performing Arts Center (Santa Fe, all ages, 7 p.m.)/Thursday, April 22; Outpost Performance Space (all ages, 7 p.m.): Perhaps the only thing more amazing than listening to sarod master Amjad Ali Khan play his instrument in a setting of traditional accompaniment is listening to him trade licks with jazz virtuoso guitarist Charlie Byrd. Khan's collaboration with Byrd speaks to his ability to play exceptionally in any situation on an instrument that remains largely enigmatic to Westerners. The sarod is a 19-string fretless lute-like device made of teak wood and metal indigenous to India, where Khan is acknowledged as one of India's finest classical musicians and the foremost exponent of the sarod.
Otis Taylor is the most relevant blues artist working today, bar none. His 2003 release, Truth is Not Fiction, turned the blues on its ear with stripped-down acoustic songs that are swollen with emotion and spine-tingling urgency. With Double V, Taylor continues his journey into the darkest corners of American history, telling chilling stories of the struggle for civil rights, social unrest and spiritual longing atop perfectly hewn melodies that mine the rich traditions of African folk, African American spirituals, latter-day acoustic blues and roiling blues rock. Taylor's unconventional instrumentation and approach takes no prisoners.
Deadline Doom—This Thursday, April 15, is the deadline for submitting your short film or video to the Southwest Film Center's First Annual Student Film Festival. All high school and college students from New Mexico are invited to participate. Organizers are looking for films in four categories: Narrative, Music Video, Experimental and Documentary. The films will be shown in a free public film festival, April 29-May 1 at the University of New Mexico's Southwest Film Center. For complete information, including a submission form, log on to swfc.unm.edu/filmfestival.html or call 277-5608.
Sword-swinging sequel segues into surprising storytelling
By Devin D. O'Leary
For all his flaws, Quentin Tarantino is—let's face it—a genius. His positively giddy enthusiasm for the film medium has created some of the wittiest, grittiest cultural touchstones of the last 20 years. His enthusiasm, however, makes him a hard filmmaker to pin down. Right now, Tarantino says he wants to direct the next James Bond film, his World War II drama Inglorious Bastards, his long-promised Vega Brothers project and part of pal Robert Rodriguez' comic book adaptation Sin City. Thanks to his scattershot interests, Q.T.'s only directed five films in the last 17 years. And two of those (Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Kill Bill: Vol. 2) are actually one movie.
An interview with Kill Bill: Vol. 2 star Michael Madsen
By Devin D. O'Leary
Although he's been in nearly 100 movies (from the acclaimed Thelma & Louise to the action-packed Relic to the family-friendly Free Willy), actor Michael Madsen will be forever burned into the minds of moviegoers as the malevolent Mr. Blonde in Quentin Tarantino's 1992 debut Reservoir Dogs.
I love TV. I really do. But I'm beginning to think that it's some kind of sick, abusive relationship. There are times that TV just doesn't treat me with the slightest ounce of respect. There are times when TV blatantly insults my intelligence. And there are times when I just want to smack TV upside its big, fat cathode ray. Take, for example, “The Swan.”
For the last two decades, the fine folks at the Albuquerque Arts Alliance have honored the best and brightest lights in the Albuquerque arts community by bestowing them with the prestigious Bravos Award. This year the awards ceremony will be held at the Albuquerque Marriott.
When local artist Sherlock Terry recently scored a small grant to help pay for his artistic endeavors, he vowed to spread the wealth among the local alternative arts community. He decided to get a bunch of noncommercial art venues together, most of them centered around Downtown, and organize a gallery hop.
She is, by all accounts, a very wise woman. Georgelle's been answering random questions posed to her by strangers for two solid decades in bookstores from New York to California. You might've seen the questions, and her often witty responses, posted in the window of the Book Stop in Nob Hill or, more recently, in the window of Crane's Bill Books. This Thursday, April 15, Georgelle will make a live appearance at the Guild Cinema to answer your questions about everything from sex to God to the nature of evil to break dancing. The show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10. 255-1848.
Next time you're over at Java Joe's scarfing a bagel and slurping some Joe, cast your eyes to the walls. Two local lady artists, Zelda Gatuskin and Veekee Eha, have decorated the inner sanctum of this famous Downtown hangout with some very killer cool art. Gatuskin supplies some inventive photo collages to the mix, while Eha contributes some animated watercolor paintings. Their show will only run through the month of April, so catch it now before it's too late. For details, call Java Joe's at 765-1514.
Several things led up to this week's story on fish. Overfishing is an issue that has become inextricably linked to any discussion of seafood. Nobody wants to put his favorite fish on the endangered species list but purveyors and restaurants do want to give the people what they like. Omega-3 fatty acids, which I wrote about recently because egg producers have begun to sell omega-3-enhanced eggs, have really come to prominence over the past year, prompting many pundits to recommend salmon (a good source) more than ever. And though a firestorm has been brewing for years over Bush's environmental policies, it's only recently that the public has begun to make firm connections between the administration's policies and their allies (read: campaign donors) in the energy industry. In the past few weeks, we've seen an increase in the number of news stories covering Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force fiasco. Scientists worldwide have criticized the administrations mishandling of science and specifically their attempts to play down the established link between coal-burning power plants and dangerous levels of mercury in the nation's fish. Which brings us to the dilemma: Is fish the new wonder food or will it slowly kill us all?
The Range Café has finally arrived somewhere in between the Northeast Heights and Bernalillo. That somewhere, specifically, is the former Lindy's location on Menaul, just east of University. After weeks of renovation that transformed the space with the Range's familiar rustic and colorful theme, the café opened last week. Like its siblings, this one serves three meals a day but will surely be a favorite for breakfast (huevos con queso!). Look for a new and interesting beer and wine list at this location. Call 888-1660 for more information.
Using canned salmon to fill up on omega-3 fatty acids
By Laura Marrich
These tasty cakes are high in protein, low in fat and way cheaper to make than their crabby cousins. Plus it's very likely that you've already got these ingredients on hand, making it a cinch to throw together for last minute entertaining. Serve them as an appetizer or side dish, dressed up with a little red chile aioli and some lime wedges.
Wading through the murky waters of omega-3 fatty acids, mercury and PCBs
By Gwyneth Doland
Trying to eat well can be so hard sometimes. Take fish, for example. Since omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have a wide array of health benefits, more and more Americans are including them in their diets by taking supplements and by eating more fish. Fatty, cold-water fish like salmon and tuna boast high amounts of these beneficial compounds. But the latest furor concerns levels of toxic mercury compounds in fish, especially tuna. Women especially are caught between a dietary Scylla and Charybdis; we're urged to eat more fish for the incredible health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids but warned against eating too much fish or risk terrifying neurological damage to our unborn children.
Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon--It's more expensive than farmed salmon but wild-caught fish have better flavor, less mercury and other toxins and are most environmentally friendly. Look for this stuff cheaper in cans and use it for salmon cakes, burgers and in quiches.
Van Tate--KRQE-13 sportscaster, voice of Lobo football
The German Chocolate Cake at Flying Star. It has to be the best in the world. I've had it several times and I still can't believe how good it tastes. It reminds me of the old Mary's Muffins that once was on Central across from UNM. When that place closed a lot of us felt like crying.
Best Thai Food
Thai Cuisine at Montaño and Coors. Once you taste #87 or #74 you will pack your belongings and try to move into the restaurant. The 87 is spicy ground chicken over rice. The 74 is a spicy fried rice with your choice of tofu or chicken. The lunch buffet left a brother speechless.
To piss off Don Schrader. Other than that, I can't think of a thing.
Best Radio Station
KUNM. Although its extreme variety is bound to be displeasing in some instances, it is the only radio station that plays anything quite original. Why, it's not even run by Clear Channel.
Best Place to Buy Used Music
Charlie's has loads of used CD's and vinyl, they play interesting music on the speakers, and the people are nice. Besides, they have ice cream. Natural Sound has a good selection, but anytime I go in there the people who work there kind of seem to growl.
Kristi Trujillo--Associate Manager at Buffalo Exchange/clothing fiend
Best Way to Spend a Monday Night
Head over to Atomic Cantina and see Heather and Suni host their pop quiz night. If you buy them shots, they might let you win.
The Best Way to Spend the Day After You've Ditched Work/School
First, call a friend who drives a Vespa so that you guys have a mode of transportation on a nice, sunny day. Next have lunch at, let's say, El Patio. Get some margaritas on this hot afternoon and talk about how you want to start your own revolution.
Best Cure-All for Being Sick, Hung Over, Having Allergies, etc.
Go to Frontier and order hash browns with cheese, a side of tortillas, extra honey and get some stew from the pot. Make some mini burritos and you've got instant relief—don't forget the large water.
Martin Heinrich and Julie Hicks—Rookie City Councilor, Web Designer
Best Day Trip
One of the best, yet least known, day trips from Albuquerque is the Ojito Wilderness Study Area. Less than an hour from Albuquerque and closer than the Jemez Mountains, Ojito is the perfect place to explore on a weekend outing. You won't find babbling mountain brooks here, just New Mexico desert at its best. Parched, yet sublime landscapes made up of broken mesas and undulating badlands capped with twisted and ancient junipers that may predate the arrival of the Spanish. Ojito is truly unlike any other place we know and it keeps us coming back. Combining elements of the Bisti badlands with Santa Fe skies, Abique fossils, and southern Utah redrock, this is a place more than worth the short drive from Albuquerque.
You gotta realize that I'm partial to the North Valley, having vowed long ago never to go east of San Mateo. I'm so proud of the fighting spirit of Sawmill Advisory Council and later the Sawmill Land Trust that I'm beaming at their success. Also, the folks at the Rio Grande Community Farms who are trying to introduce urban kids to traditional valley agriculture on the old Anderson Fields are pretty cool, too. Common Cause, PIRG and the American Cancer Society are friends in the legislative arena.
Farmer's Markets. My kids get good exercise, they get to meet the folks that grow the food they eat, and I get to support local farmers who provide the freshest produce in town. Arts and crafts add to the colorful experience.
Best Place To Take Kids Out For A Hike
Rio Grande Nature Center. I get good exercise, my kids get to see the resident ducks and turtles, and point out the migratory visitors (we saw sandhill cranes earlier this year). The view of the Sandia Mountains is spectacular.
Best Venue in Which to Hear Live Music With The Kids
El Malpais—It's just far enough to make you feel like you've gone somewhere, but it's still an easy day trip. There's amazing stuff to see, and it's a real kick to just wander around for hours. Also, my dog threw up an apple there. Yup.
It's gotta be Manny Aragon. I imagine Manny would have the hookup wherever we went, no waiting for a table. Hell, we probably wouldn't even have to pay for a drink in most places. He's sure to know and tell stories about New Mexico politics and politicians that would never even be hinted at by the press. And if we did have to pay, hopefully he would pick up the tab cause he would be loaded with dough from all, the, uh ’political gifts' he has received over the years.
Best Reason To Vote Bush in 2004
If you're rich, white and you love sexist, racist, homophobic, hypocritical, avaricious, moronic, liars and murderers.
Soobin Hur--Alibi intern and Korean exchange student, Menaul School
Best Bowling Alley
Leisure Bowl. This place is about more than just bowling. If you're planning a birthday party for your kid, Leisure Bowl offers pop-up Bumper Bowling on every lane. They will even supply the invitations! For adults, they also have drinks and karaoke.
Best Radio Station
88.3 FM. Compared to 90.5 FM, this Christian Rock music station has more information about Christian concert dates and new Christian CDs. It also offers a good variety of Christian music 24 hours a day.
Best Korean Restaurant
Yen Ching. Yen Ching serves both Chinese and Korean food. They have an excellent daily lunch buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. You can try all kinds of authentic Korean dishes here. Some famous Korean dishes are Bul Gal Bi (barbecue rib), Bul Go Ki (barbecued beef), Dae Ji Bul Go Ki (barbecued pork), Dak Bul Go Gi (barbecued chicken) and Gob Chang Gui (barbecued marinated tripe). They also have a delicious Japanese sushi bar.
Sally Mayer squashing the green cone art scheduled for the new I-40 Louisiana Interchange. She missed the public meeting when her constituents spoke in favor of it, sneaks it into a City Council meeting around the City Arts Board and made sure it was vetoed soundly. Now she's trying to appoint herself to the Arts Board—if that happens we'll probably end up with a giant cowboy boot as an Uptown landmark.
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. That's right kids, there are 19 pueblos in our beautiful state. Can't make it out to each pueblo for Feast Day dances? This place has free traditional dances every weekend. Check it out.
Best Place to Fall in Love with New Mexico All Over Again
Chaco Canyon, a.k.a. Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Sure the last 20 or so miles to get there are marked by washboard dirt road madness, but once you catch site of Fajada Butte ... ah. A place not to be missed.
There's a lot to like about Albuquerque, from our fabulous weather and scenic vistas to our friendly, multicultural atmosphere and terrific cuisine. From our visual and performance arts communities to our historic and contemporary neighborhoods, our recreational opportunities and special events, Albuquerque is truly unique and I am always proud to be part of it. One area where I have been getting a lot of positive feedback lately, in the Biopark: our Rio Grande Zoo, Botanic Gardens and Aquarium. I went with my family last weekend, and the facilities continue to be clean, user-friendly and fascinating. This is a great set of amenities with a lot of new attractions, so it's no wonder the Biopark is the state's number one attraction.
Gone (forever, we hope) are the days when whiners can complain that there's nothing to do in Albuquerque after dark. As you're about to discover, there's more than enough nightlife to go around in this city—from live music and dancing to fine dining and drinking, you can't swing a dead cat in Albuquerque without hitting something fun to do with your leisure time. Furthermore, Weekly Alibi's very own Arts, Naked City (live music and entertainment) and Community and Events calendars are jam-packed with great stuff to do every day of every week. If you're not satisfied with your social life, it's only because you're not willing to miss an episode of “Cops” every now and then. We hope our readers' choices in the following categories will inspire you to have fun, relax, make new friends and become part of our vibrant community.
Every year, our Best of Burque issue is built on some crazy theme. In the early days, this practice proved to be a lot of fun. But in recent years, our thematic presentations have become, well, progressively more clichéd and downright cheesy. Take last year, for instance: What the hell did pirates have to do with Albuquerque in any way, shape or form, past or present? Similarly, this year we've packaged our Best of Burque issue in an undersea treasure/adventure theme. Someone apparently forgot to tell the Marketing Department there's no water here. So as I sat down to scribe this introduction to our most gargantuan issue of the year, I found myself having a hard time separating the pirate and undersea treasure themes. I did the best I could, but forgive me for occasionally straying into pirate mode. Here goes:
If there's one thing we've figured out about Burqueños, it's that we like to stockpile our crap. And lots of it. Whether it's a backyard collection of rust-eaten Buicks or the latest gadget from Williams and Sonoma, the cult of objects is as New Mexican as a plate of huevos on Sunday morning. You can see it for yourself, too. Every weekend we spill out from our homes, money in hand, on a mission from God to scour the desert for the best deal, the biggest piece or the rarest find. Sometimes we actually find it and, miraculously, it's just a few bucks less than we expected to pay. But even if we come away empty handed, it's that satisfaction of a full-day's hunt that sends us blissfully to bed, where we dream again of acquiring junk. Blessed, beautiful junk.
First, an explanation. While you will find, within these pages, information that will help you locate the best micro-brew/Celtic music experience or to scout locations for your Vietnamese-language remake of The Godfather, we want to remind you that we're saving the best for later. Later this year, that is, when the annual Readers' Choice Restaurant Poll hits the stands with hundreds and hundreds of ooey-gooey, scrum-diddly-umptious restaurants that have been tried and tested by our readers. So consider the “Eats and Drinks” section of our Best of Burque poll to be a mere appetizer for the very big meal to come in October.
The people, places and sights in Albuquerque make our fair city one of the finest places to live regardless of the studies that paint a gloomy picture. Just recap the past 12 months and there's plenty to cheer about. Downtown continues its revival, the media didn't uncover a single fundraising scam at the mayor's office, the Isotopes brought baseball back with a bang, Tingely Beach is finally getting a makeover and the arts are thriving like never before. And that's only a quick sample. But there are always things to gripe about and we like to do that too once in a while. So here's this year's Life in Burque winners (and losers), so one way or another, we can all feel better about ourselves. Enjoy!
If by “foreign” you mean “arty” then by all means our winner is your one stop shop. But if you translate “foreign” as “Japanese science-fiction with lots of monsters and martial arts too” then newcomer Burning Paradise is where you should be paying late fees. For a wide selection of new releases (if nothing else) Hastings hits the spot.
Still winner and champ-een! For the buhzillionth year in a row, Frontier has smothered the competition like a goopy blanket of red chile and cheese. Thanks to the 'Tier, nothing says New Mexico like eating your breakfast at 11 p.m., surrounded by epic pastels of John Wayne's likeness and, apparently, people you're scared of or scaring. For those who actually eat breakfast in the a.m., there's Flying Star Café's turkey sausage and pristine pastries, or the unbeatable slabs of bacon and drool-inducing queso at The Range Cafés. You also report that the grub at Weck's gets you out of bed on your coveted weekend morning.
We live in a city that prides itself on its skin-searing quantum creative energy. Stand on almost any street corner—especially in neighborhoods like Downtown, Barelas and Nob Hill—swing your purse in a nice wide arc, and you'll more likely than not hit an artist, an actor or a musician squarely in the jaw.
As long-time readers of the Alibi already know, Chevy on a Stick (a.k.a. “Cruising San Mateo I”) always wins this category. It's some kind of law of nature. Yes, our city is filled with great and diverse pieces of monumental public art, but something about that delicious Chevy on a Stick, located at the corner of San Mateo and Gibson, perfectly symbolizes the thriving neon auto culture that has defined Albuquerque for the last 60-odd years.
The big guy wins this one for the second year in a row. Seriously, who wouldn't love to go bar hopping with the guv. He's gotta have a few good stories to tell. Mayor Chavez took second, and City Councilor Eric Griego and former city councilor turned Alibi columnist Greg Payne tied for fourth. To be fair Griego probably deserved one extra vote for the entry that said, “the guy who thinks he's funny,” but the judges said no. Of course, Payne learned the virtues of sobriety the hard way, so perhaps folks thought he might be useful as a designated driver.
In the small town of Wadley, Ga., a seat in a recent city council election was decided by two votes. But a few days later, a peculiar discovery revealed that the town's voting machines had recorded four more votes than the total number of people that had signed in to cast a ballot. In other words, the folks in Wadley had themselves a voter irregularity situation.
Who can't handle the truth? Newspaper editors and network TV news producers had, by their own estimation, a difficult decision to make last week when images of mutilated American corpses were transmitted home from Fallujah, Iraq.
Bush spin diverts America's attention from the truth
By Jerry Ortiz y Pino
You may have to dig out your old dog-eared copies of George Orwell's 1984 if you want to understand the peculiar uses of the English language that are being shoveled in our direction by the current inhabitants of the White House.
Important races shouldn't go unnoticed during 2004
By Eric Griego
Tip O'Neill, the prominent former Democratic House speaker, in his oft-quoted quip said "All politics are local." This is not to be confused with the old New Mexican saying "All politicos are loco." But let's be honest: Who gives a rat's red patutee about who the next trustee in Romeroville is? You should.
Dateline: Cambodia—Police in Phnom Penh have been accused of using a most unusual form of torture. Two teenage boys, arrested last Sunday night on suspicion of stealing five bags of soap powder from a parked car, say police force-fed them bananas until they got sick and confessed. Policeman Yim Simony denied any official wrongdoing. "They were hungry and annoyed and they refused to answer our questions," he told the Cambodia Daily. "But after they ate the bananas, they answered questions."
Short Shorts—The Southwest Film Center at UNM is looking for a few good shorts. The First Annual SWFC Short Film Festival is a chance for aspiring young filmmakers to show off their talents. Organizers are looking for films/videos in four categories: Narrative, Music Video, Experimental and Documentary. Films should be no longer than 20 minutes and must be accompanied by a $20 admission fee. Deadline for submission is Thursday, April 15. Winners will be showcased in a series of public screenings beginning Thursday, April 29, and awards will be handed out on Saturday, May 1. For complete info, including a submission form, log on to swfc.unm.edu/filmfestival.html.
Here in America, the Disney Corporation, the greatest stronghold of animation in the western world, continues to hemorrhage profits and forebode the end of "traditional" cartoons. The company all but insists that the recently released Home on the Range is the last non-computerized film they will bother to make. Overseas, however, animation seems to be enjoying a minor renaissance. Earlier this year, France loaned us the charming and unpredictable Oscar nominee The Triplets of Belleville. Now comes the latest work by Japanese up-and-comer Satoshi Kon. While Tokyo Godfathers isn't exactly groundbreaking cinema, it does showcase a strength and breadth of animation with which Americans seem unwilling to experiment.
Poor timing and familiar plot have audiences whining, “Are we there yet?”
By Devin D. O'Leary
Amazingly enough, Johnson Family Vacation was not produced by the UPN network. Had the film premiered on the network that gave us "The Parkers," "The Hughleys," "Girlfriends" and "Moesha", the urban-friendly cast and carefree plot might have scored a few ratings points. Lost amid the early spring rush of action films, romantic comedies and kid-friendly cartoons, Johnson Family Vacation is a side trip that's just not worth the effort.
TV-wise, Easter isn't nearly as big a holiday as, say, Christmas. Sure, there are a few seasonal specials and the occasional holiday classic. (What would Easter be without a few Cecil B. DeMille epics?). But there aren't usually enough programming choices to fill up your entire day off. That doesn't mean, of course that you can't try.
Early one November morning in Seattle 11 years ago, Mia Zapata, lead singer of then up-and-coming alt.rock band The Gits (who played Albuquerque's Dingo Bar toward the end of their one and only West Coast tour), was abducted, raped and strangled to death with the hoodstring of her Gits sweatshirt, then dumped at the end of a dead-end street less than two blocks from the friend's house she'd left less than two hours earlier with the intention of catching a cab home. For a decade, Zapata's case remained cold. Then, in 2003, DNA evidence collected from Zapata's body drew a match on Florida's felon database, rendering a suspect in her murder: Jesus Mesquia. Three weeks ago, Mesquia was convicted on all counts in a Seattle courtroom and faces 20 years to life in Zapata's tragic death. Fellow Git Steve Moriarty after the verdict said, "I'm just glad he'll be in prison and we'll be living free lives." Indeed. ... This year's Alibi Spring Crawl will feature a handful of carefully chosen national acts to-be-announced. While the focus of our Crawl series remains on local music, local bands and the local businesses Downtown who support them, we'd be doing a disservice to everyone involved—fans included—if we didn't gradually push the events toward regional and, eventually, national acclaim. Albuquerque isn't Austin, and the Crawls may never be as widely regarded as South by Southwest, but we hope our humble events evolve to the point that they can't be ignored by the music industry at-large. See you Downtown on Saturday, April 24.
Lyrically, he's been compared to Leonard Cohen and Bruce Springsteen. But as a songwriter, tracing 26-year-old Josh Ritter's perceived lineage is slightly more challenging. Anyone with the ability to read the lyric sheets accompanying his three existing records can visualize the boyishly handsome Ritter's face buried in books by Rimbaud and Rilke. But listening to his plaintive voice toy with hook laden melodies without ever actually playing the hand is drawn in some obscure way to Nick Drake and Beth Orton and, moreover, a comforting amalgam of Bob Dylan (pre-Victoria's Secret commercials) and Sweet Baby James-era James Taylor.
Saturday, April 10; Launchpad (21 and over, 5 p.m.): It's an annual event that's become as revered as Christmas: Beto's Birthday Bash. Beto's turning 56 this Saturday, and he'd like to have all of you join him in celebration of the occasion. Many of your favorite local bands—Kaotic State, Dead On Point Five, Bulletrainmafia, Blue Bottle Flies, Concepto Tambor, Civitas, Feels Like Sunday, Los Brown Spots, Rebilt and several others—will be on-hand to provide live music and, if you show up early enough, there might just be some home-cooked food left.
Beto himself will be on-hand for spankings and such, with the giant spanking tunnel taking place at 11:59 p.m.
Wednesday, April 14; Brewster's Pub (21 and over, 9 p.m.): It's no secret that my some of my formative years were spent listening to '80s glam metal, going to '80s glam metal concerts and playing a pretty awful '80s glam metal-influenced band. The guitarist and long-time friend from that band which shall remain nameless recently entrusted several cassette tapes containing most of what we recorded between the late '80s and 1991—some of the worst music ever committed to tape—for purposes of archiving it on CD. The very fact that I would even consider spending time archiving such tripe is a clear indication that there's a part of me, however small, that still looks back fondly on those days. So it was with a fair amount of excitement that I received the news that George Lynch (and Lynch Mob) would be coming to Albuquerque on a last-minute booking.
Longing for a return to the Golden Age of grunge? A tour through the annals of Sub Pop history? A reminder of how a handful of incredible (and incredibly resourceful) bands created the most significant musical movement since '70s punk rock? Sub Pop Video Network: Program 1 is just what you're looking for. Yes, long before the grunge look could be purchased from the Gap, and prior to bandwagonesque bands like Stone Temple Pilots and Bush ruled the airwaves, bands like Mudhoney, Beat Happening, Tad, Afghan Whigs and, yes, Nirvana, were busy meshing balls-out hardcore and punk rock with '80s metal in direct response to the Silly String 'n' Aqua Net era of rock music that nearly ruined an entire generation of MTV babies. And much of it is collected in video form on this first DVD installment from the good folks at the label that stated it all: Sub Pop.
They either missed the window or preceded it by a few years, but either way, the first outing by Finland's Hanoi Rocks in 19 years falls flat on its glamorous face. Back in their heyday, HR could have been the European antidote to the Los Angeles community of excess that spawned Guns 'n' Roses, L.A. Guns and Motley Crue, whose singer, Vince Neil, ended HR's career by killing their drummer "Razzle" in a car accident in 1994. HR never recovered. Michael Monroe's songwriting would have been hailed in 1988, but in 2004, it needs to be put to bed forever.
There's more to musicals than the all-too-familiar over-homogenized triteness of Oklahoma! and My Fair Lady. In honor of Ana Chavira, a frequent Musical Theatre Southwest (MTS) performer and contributor, MTS recently opened its brand spanking new Ana Chavira Theatre in the Frank A. Peloso Performing Arts Center, which also houses the much larger Hiland Theatre. The purpose of this intimate 85-seat theater is to provide a new and appropriate venue to stage alternative musicals for Albuquerque audiences.
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
By Steven Robert Allen
Many conservatives, I've noticed, are hypocrites. Half an inch beyond the American flag lapel pins, the pretentious sanctifying of our Founding Fathers, and the blathering defenses of the Republican party's narrow, hyper-corporate brand of liberty lurks a world view that runs contrary to most of the basic principles of American democracy. When they aren't busy stripping us of the so-called inalienable rights granted to us by our Constitution, many conservative politicians busy themselves with the dismantling of one of America's finest legacies: the setting aside of federal lands for the benefit of future generations.
Theatre-in-the-Making, the hardest working youth theater group in Albuquerque, presents a new production of Shakespeare's comedic battle of the sexes, The Taming of the Shrew. Paul Ford directs this lunatic play about a mean-spirited woman and the eccentric weirdo who tames her. The Taming of the Shrew runs Friday, April 9, and Saturday, April 10, at 7 p.m. at the Vortex Theatre. $5. 247-8600. The next week the show hops over to the Albuquerque Little Theatre, running Wednesday, April 14, through Friday, April 16, at 10 a.m. and Saturday, April 17, at 7 p.m. $6. 242-4750.
UNM's talented graduate art students will open their studios to the public on the evening of Friday, April 9. Two separate buildings will host the event: the Graduate Art Annex, accessed by entering UNM at Yale and Central, and the Maddox, located at the corner of Ash and Copper. The Annex will be open from 6 to 8 p.m. and the Maddox will open its doors from 7 to 9 p.m. Casadimanza will provide live music. Set aside a couple hours to see what some of New Mexico's better up-and-coming artists have created. 277-5861.
Eric Schlosser's first book, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the American Meal, spent three years on the New York Times bestseller lists. The book follows our burgers from pasture to plate, and it documents damage the junk food industry inflicts on our waistlines, workers, environment and children. Book number two, Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market, tours our nation's bizarre, often horrifying, trillion-dollar, underground illegal drug economy.
Before you work yourself into a frenzy over how few food-related categories are included in the Best of Burque poll, remember that Alibi has a separate poll just for food-related superlatives. It's called the Readers' Choice Restaurant Poll (RCRP) and it hits the stands in October, right around Balloon Fiesta time. So consider this your fair warning. You have the next six months to eat your way around town and compile a personal list of favorites, from soup to service, bread to brunch. Pay special attention to newcomers as this kind of poll (like elections) tends to favor incumbents. Is there a restaurant you think gets overlooked every year? Start recruiting your friends now. Take them with you to experience your unknown gems and when poll time comes around you can encourage your buddies to vote. If you've got ideas for new RCRP categories you can e-mail them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We promise we'll consider them all but don't be surprised if you don't get to vote for Best Buns on a Waiter Whose Name Starts With an "M" Who Works at an Italian Restaurant in Nob Hill.
How long do you think it would take to eat a six-foot-tall scale model of the leaning tower of Pisa—made entirely of chocolate? That's what guests at last month's 12th annual Chocolate Fantasy gala were probably thinking as they strolled past the edible creation of Lincoln Peterkin and Oneil Watson. The pair won the first place award for Most Artistic chocolate piece before their restaurant, Jamaica Jamaica, even opened. Chef Daniel Keadle of the Hyatt Tamaya Resort took first place for Best Taste. Judges also awarded honors to Adrienne and Claire Toubbeh, Seasons Rotisserie and Grill and the Marriott Pyramid North. Chellese Restaurant in Gallup won the People's Choice award while Jamaica Jamaica took home the award Sponsors' Choice. The event grossed more than $250,000 for the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. (GD)
If your family simply adores ham at holiday time but you hate to pay high prices for a spiral-sliced sow, why not opt for a cheaper version and do it yourself? Buy a nice, big bone-in half ham from your favorite butcher. Although the ham is already cooked, you'll need to heat it thoroughly before serving.
A chat with the owner of a winning new Thai restaurant
By Gwyneth Doland
Across the street from Flying Star Café on Menaul is a humble little Thai restaurant with bright, fresh food and distinctively friendly service. This week I had the opportunity to chat with the enthusiastic owner, Peerayut “Gol Gol” Prasomphon.
Our first annual photography competition didn't work out quite the way we'd expected. Unlike most Alibi contests of the past, we didn't receive a towering pile of entries. I'll take partial responsibility for this. Two of the categories—Tantrums and Blackmail—were a little bit obscure, and the truth is we didn't get any publishable entries for either of these. Our second disappointment is that we didn't receive a single nude picture of Don Schrader, which has left many of us, particularly Alibi Editor Michael Henningsen, both mystified and depressed.
Were the mayoral election held today and not at the end of next year, Mayor Martin Chavez would not be re-elected no matter how much money he raises and spends. Given the field of interested candidates (Marty, former D.A. Bob Schwartz, City Councilor Eric Griego, and State Sen. Linda Lopez to name some) odds are Schwartz would leave his post as Gov. Bill Richardson's crime guru and take up residence on the 11th floor of City Hall.
Find a pulse in our public schools before looking for one on Mars
By Jerry Ortiz y Pino
Last fall, New Mexicans approved two constitutional amendments dealing with education. One provided millions of dollars for educational reform. The other revamped the state department of education, bringing it under the governor's authority.
Dateline: Scotland—A would-be vampire working at the Edinburgh Dungeons' horror tour has been removed from her job after fainting at the sight of blood. Marianne Sellar, who plays a vampire at the popular tourist attraction, was about to take a bite from a "victim" planted in the audience when another audience member announced that she had a nosebleed. Ms. Sellar, 24, collapsed and was forced to admit to her bosses that she has had a life-long phobia of blood. "It is quite embarrassing," Sellar told the Daily Mail. "I had managed to keep my phobia a secret for three years because normally we only deal with fake blood, which I can handle. When the visitor showed me all the real blood, I just collapsed." Ms. Sellar has been moved to another part of the tourist attraction and a new actress is being trained to replace her role in the Dungeons' feature tour "Vampires: Fact or Fiction?"
April Fools—Guild Cinema is celebrating April 1 in high style with a one-night-only screening of "Pranks!!" This special salute to April Fool's Day includes an assortment of devilish, devious video works from around the country. "Homeland Security: It's in Your Hands"by The White Ring offers "tips" on surviving these increasingly dangerous and scary times. The hilarious "G.I. Joe PSAs" by Eric Fensler, features the red-blooded TV cartoon hero teaching kids how to defuse many a bad situation. "The Eternal Frame"by legendary performance filmmakers Ant Farm is one of the seminal video works of the '70s, restaging the tragic events of Dallas 1963. There will be plenty more video insanity including a rare, classic "mystery screening" by famed underground filmmaker Todd Haynes (Safe, Far From Heaven). Screenings take place at 5:30 and 8 p.m.
The Taos Picture Show Brings Hollywood back to Northern New Mexico
By Devin D. O'Leary
The demise last year of the Taos Talking Picture Film Festival left many wondering what would happen to the artistic, movie-hungry mecca of Taos, NM. A tricky bankruptcy derailed the homegrown festival in 2003, ending (at least temporarily) any chance of hanging out for a weekend, rubbing elbows with a few stars and watching movies in the cool, pine-lined environment of northern New Mexico. Thanks to some last-minute efforts by a team of dedicated film lovers, though, Taos will once again play host to an annual film festival.
Less is more in this very special delivery from Asia
By Devin D. O'Leary
Sometimes less is more. The new film Postmen in the Mountains, shot in 1998 but only recently delivered to America from China, is certainly proof of that. This tiny, deceptively simple story concentrates on an aging mail carrier, whose job it is to lug a mail sack through the rugged mountains of China's rural Hunan province. Forced to retire due to increasingly painful arthritis, the postman passes his job onto his son. The entire film takes place over the course of a single journey in which the father (along with a faithful guide dog) teaches his son the ins and outs of the laborious mail route. That's pretty much it for the plot. There are no surprising twists, no giant crises, no big action sequences. And yet, the film carries an emotional weight far heavier than most Hollywood tearjerkers.
Discovery Channel's new series “Animal Face-Off” could be the greatest water cooler show ever invented. That's not to say it's the greatest show ever—there are far too many missed opportunities in the series for it to qualify as essential viewing. But the concept is pure, unadulterated genius. It's guaranteed to spark many a debate at work, at school and on the playground.
Chris Smither always manages to sound real on his records. Like he's living the songs he sings every day. In a sense, that's exactly what the 50-year-old acoustic bluesman is doing—living the very truths he sets to music. Smither's childhood wasn't unpleasant, but it wasn't stable either. His parents, both university professors, moved the family from Miami to Ecuador to Texas to New Orleans to Paris back to New Orleans, all by the time Smither was 13 years old and already fascinated by music.
Another March has passed, and with it another installment of the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, where several of us go every year to scout the newest, coolest bands. OK, we all see a few older cool bands, too, but most of the reason we go every year is to give you a brief preview of bands to watch when we get back. Plus, it keeps us from killing ourselves (and each other) the remaining months of the year. Here we go with SXSW 2004 Top 10:
Remember that nifty deck of cards that the Bush administration distributed just after we invaded Iraq? The cards were designed to be distributed among members of our armed services to aid in capturing the nastiest members of the Baath regime. They were also designed to popularize an invasion that with each passing day seems to have less and less to do with the war on terrorism.
The Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin once wrote that "the passion for destruction is also a creative passion." This sentiment fuels much of the murderous, hallucinogenic action in the Vortex Theatre's production of Methods to Madness, a darkly funny play by Joel Murray about the art and thrill of acting.
Sometimes editors publish writers before they are ready. Confirming that are three recent books from Curbstone Press: E. Ethelbert Miller's How We Sleep on the Nights We Don't Make Love (paper, $12.95); George Evans and Nguyen Qui Duc's translation of Huu Thunh's The Time Tree (paper, $15.95); and Margaret Sayers Peden's translation of Claribel Alegria's Casting Off (paper, $13.95). Too often I found these books stuffed with short poems that read as toss-offs and really merited further thought before inclusion.
Over the last few years, Eric Schlosser has built up a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most innovative journalists in the country. His first book, Fast Food Nation, a huge bestseller, was Schlosser's ambitious exposé of our country's fast food industry. Among other frightening facts, the book revealed an almost complete lack of governmental oversight of the meat-packing industry. He also discussed some of the truly disgusting pathogens and other nasty bits found in much of our fast food.
The peachiest children's story of all time will be transplanted from the page to the stage starting this week when the Albuquerque Little Theatre presents a production of Roahl Dahl's James and the Giant Peach. Bring the kids. Bring your grandmammy. The classic story of James Henry Trotter and his long and dangerous journey inside the vehicle of a giant fuzzy fruit is truly fun for the whole family. If that isn't enough, there will, I'm told, be an honest-to-god giant peach ensconced right on stage. The play opens on April Fool's Day and runs through August 10. $6. Call for times. 242-4750.
The Richard Levy Gallery brings together work from 10 emerging artists in a show opening this week. From Todd Anderson's comedic red prints from his "First Aid for Beautiful People" series to Vincent Burke's latex, paint and steel landscapes to Saya Woolfalk's colorful brain-smashing paintings and sculptures, this exhibit presents pieces on the razor-sharp cutting-edge of contemporary art. Spring Fever opens on April 4 and runs through May 7. For details, call 766-9888.
When I win the Powerball, I'm going to quit this job and live a life of self-indulgence and shameless excess. Sleep ’til noon! Tuaca shots and table dancing all night! A fleet of Hummers in the seven-car garage of my Pueblo-Gothic mansion! But when I get tired of all the partying, I'll do some volunteer work. My first philanthropic effort will be to rewrite the menu of pretty much every restaurant in town. I will strive toward organization, simplicity, accuracy and correct spelling. No longer will Vietnamese cafés list 132 items, 42 of which are rice vermicelli and meat in different combinations. You will simply order vermicelli and then make your own combination from the list: beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, tofu, egg roll. You want enchiladas? You won't have to read three pages of menu, just make a small series of decisions: yellow or blue corn tortillas, beef or chicken, red or green, rolled or stacked, à la carte or plate. I'll give unusual dishes appetizing names and descriptions that actually mean something (I'm sure there's a better way to describe a bowl of soup with well done beef, tendon, tripe and fat). And I'll ban overly confusing terms from the menu. If Scalo wants to serve poussin, fine. But I'm calling it young chicken.
March 12 was the last day of lunch service at Monte Vista Fire Station (Central and Monte Vista NW). Chef Tony Nethery decided to focus his efforts on the already tempting dinner menu and expand the upstairs bar's snack menu. The restaurant now opens at 5 p.m. “Dinner-only is a blast,” Nethery says. “I'm really working on the bar menu, making more nice, small plates. They're not tapas, but like that.” Ted Nicely, Monte Vista's pastry chef, says he's happy to have more time for one of his favorite activities: making ice cream. Nicely offers four or five ice creams and about as many sorbets, in flavors ranging from milk chocolate-hazelnut to raspberry balsamic, guava and pecan praline. His ice cream sandwich is made with flourless chocolate brownies flavored with orange zest, cinnamon and pistachios, on either side of a disc of Earl Grey and coffee-cardamom ice cream. Go ahead, pause for a moment and try to imagine how all those flavors come together. I, for one, plan to take one for the team and try it out in person.
A chat with Matt Nichols, chef and general manager
By Gwyneth Doland
Gold Street Caffé (218 Gold SW), a popular sidewalk spot for breakfast and lunch, began serving dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays. This development is one of many changes Matt Nichols has planned for the coming months.
Our guide to some of the most appetizing possibilities
By Laura Marrich
Few things work up a bigger appetite than a hot, sunny day spent sitting in church, making the family rounds and chasing after a gaggle of pint-sized egg-hunters who are deliriously hopped up on sugar. After you factor in the time it'll take to clean the puddles of food coloring and egg bits off your floor, you've got to wonder if your sanity is worth a few more hours spent in the kitchen. (It's not). Maybe you can't cook in the first place. Maybe the glare of your mother's pristine cast iron skillet taunts you every morning with memories of perfectly flipped pancakes that you'll never be able to reproduce. No matter. Easter is the brunch holiday, so do it up! This year, leave the work to the professionals and start a new family tradition at one of these excellent restaurants. Or make plans to dump the kids off with relatives and take a few hours of mimosa-induced respite with your loved one. Either way, someone else gets stuck with the dishes.