The Alibi's Second Annual Photo Contest
I've received quite a few frantic phone calls over the last couple weeks from people wondering just where the @#$*&!! our photo contest went. Yes, we originally planned to run the winners in our March 24 issue, but the contest got pushed back a couple weeks due to some scheduling mumbo jumbo that wouldn't interest you (trust me). We advertised the extension repeatedly in the paper, but several of you seem to have missed it.
Coronado Mall's plan for redevelopment raises air quality questions
People hate bad city planning. Which is why, nearly 25 years ago, Albuquerque's City Council decided to put an end to it, at least in one part of our city. The Uptown district, which is well-known for its sea of asphalt, undeveloped space and semi-empty strip malls, also has the worst air pollution in the city and is, for the most part, pedestrian unfriendly. And so, in an effort to curb these characteristics and transform Uptown into a thriving urban area, in 1981, the Council created the Uptown Sector Plan.
Our Banana Republic. Politics can be a downright pitiful exercise in nepotism. In New Mexico, the latest obvious example was a bill sponsored at the Legislature by Reps Dan Silva and Kiki Saavedra that was championed by their sons, who both happened to be lobbyists for the cause.
City councilors began the April 4 meeting an hour early, shunted 14 bills to a land use meeting and slogged past the 10:30 p.m. deadline, but the last few weeks' backlog of bills just piled higher. The single thing councilors didn't discuss, having vented earlier at an afternoon press conference, was the current APD ruckus.
The Terry Schiavo tragedy just won't let go of my imagination. It is tempting to move on, to shift our focus, to look for the next public circus to distract ourselves from the painful truths opened by the still-fresh experience in Florida. But until we've teased out a few answers for ourselves, the contradictions are too extreme to set aside comfortably.
Dateline: Louisiana—Rapper C-Murder, in jail for the 2002 murder of a teenager, has changed his stage name because he thinks he is misunderstood. “I am not a murderer,” the rapper, whose real name is Corey Miller, said in a statement released last Tuesday. According to his publicist, Giovanni Melchiorre of New York-based Koch Records, the incarcerated musician will now go by the name of C Miller. “People hear the name C-Murder and they don't realize that the name simply means that I have seen many murders in my native Calliope projects neighborhood,” the rapper explained. The state of Louisiana disagrees, however. Miller was convicted of second-degree murder Sept. 30, 2003, in the death of Steve Thomas, 16, a fan of the rapper who was shot inside a nightclub in the New Orleans suburb of Harvey. Miller faces a mandatory life sentence without parole. Earlier this month, a state appeals court upheld Miller's conviction. His defense lawyer, Ron Rakosky, has said he will appeal to the state Supreme Court.
Campaign contributions put legislation into perspective
Handicap these odds: An important piece of legislation is before the New Mexico Legislature. Lined up on one side are all of Albuquerque's neighborhood coalitions. On the other sideline huddles a handful of lobbyists. Who wins?
Who wants to have dinner with Amy Goodman, co-host of Pacifica Radio's “Democracy Now”? Goodman will be in Santa Fe this week with East Timor native and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos Horta for a discussion on peace and democracy in general, and East Timor in particular. The discussion, called a Peace Jam, takes place at St. John's College on Saturday, April 16. Twenty lucky lefties will join Goodman for an intimate late afternoon dinner before the Peace Jam. New Mexico's KUNM 89.9 FM is distributing the 20 tickets through an auction held on their website, www.kunm.org. The minimum bid is $125, but a bid of $1,000 will automatically win you a seat at the table. The dinner, including food, wine and very lively conversation, will take place in a private dining room, the location of which will only be disclosed to auction winners. Proceeds from the auction all go to benefit KUNM. Tickets for the Peace Jam cost between $12 and $20. Call the Lensic Box Office at (505) 988-1234 for tickets and information.
Anticipation makes everything more exciting, doesn't it? We've all been excitedly awaiting the opening of Crazy Fish, the much-hyped sushi restaurant in Nob Hill (3015 Central NE, 232-3474, next to the Lobo Theater). Owner and sushi Chef Seigo Ono, a former Albuquerque resident, came back to open his own place after a decade away. The lunch menu is accessible and affordably priced, with selections like the teriyaki salmon lunch box ($6.95): salmon served with miso soup, rice, salad or stir-fried vegetables. Other options include calamari salad ($6.25) and a barbecued eel bowl ($7.25). At dinner the menu is more exciting but not that much more expensive. A starter of edamame will run you $3.50 and creamy Asian mushroom udon pasta is $10.50. There's also a full sushi bar. Stop in and try it out. Let us know what you think.
You'll want to stay all night in this soul kitchen
A new soul food kitchen has sprung up in the South Broadway neighborhood. Matriarch Katherine Bradford, aka Aunt Babe, has made the business a family affair, with three generations of the Bradford clan as helpmates. Warning: Finding the place could be tricky. You might pass right on by this nondescript white frame building. Navigate yourself to the Northwest corner of Broadway and Gibson, and look for a small, humble sign. (I'm told it will be replaced with a larger one very soon.)
Cannibals can't agree on whether humans taste like pork or beef
I sometimes find myself staring off into space, wondering what it would be like to be a man. I imagine being tall enough to see what's on top of the fridge, being so focused on important issues that I never notice my toilet bowl is filthy, and, while we're at it, being hung like Tommy Lee. Right? How cool would that be?
CineQuixote—The National Hispanic Cultural Center in conjunction with Instituto Cervantes will present a screening of Lost in La Mancha, a documentary about Terry Gilliam's aborted attempt to film Cervantes' classic novel. The screening will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, at NHCC's Wells Fargo Auditorium (1701 Fourth Street NW). Entrance is free and open to the public.
Thriller: A Cruel Picture (1974)
You know that old saying that goes, “Hell hath no fury like a one-eyed woman pumping your sorry ass full of shotgun shells”? Well, after watching Thriller: A Cruel Picture, it's pretty freakin' obvious where that particular nugget of knowledge came from.
UK import gives “feel-good” films a good name
Working with sentiment is like working with nitroglycerin. Use just the right amount and you can treat a heart condition. Use too much and it's gonna blow up in your face, taking a whole lot of people with you. Get it right and you come up with a classic weeper like Old Yeller. Get it wrong and you end up with a manipulative horror like Pay It Forward. It takes an alchemical precision to work with heart-tugging sentiment, and few Hollywood people really have the skill for it.
“Sesame Street” on PBS
Last week, PBS perennial “Sesame Street” kicked off its 36th season. Thirty-six years of teaching kids the letter “D” is, I guess, enough to drive even the most dedicated of educators mad. (“D! It's a D! Don't you get it already?!?”) How else to explain the shocking revelation that--I can hardly bring myself to say it--this season, Cookie Monster will be cutting down on the cookies?
The Week in Sloth
It's been a tough scene for our blues guys and gals ever since Club Rhythm & Blues closed its doors for good, taking one of the best open mics in town right along with them. But if there's a silver lining to be found here, it's that artists like Michael Holt are strengthening their own scene from the roots up. Holt and his Hollywood Holt Band host a new weekly open mic just for blues and R&B performers at Ned's Downtown. The Wednesday night showcase is a step up from traditional blues jams, with a nice stage, a full sound setup and professional live mixing. Holt says his motivation springs from when he first cut his blues teeth at open mics under the tutelage of Darin Goldston, front man of the Memphis P. Tails. “They say you've got to give it away if you want to keep it, and this is my way of giving it back.”
By the time he'd reached the ripe old age of 23, Connecticut-bred pianist Kevin Hays had already toured for a year with the Harper Brothers, worked with Joshua Redman and Benny Golson to name but a few, and waxed his first record as a leader, El Matador (Evidence). Considering that most of us spend the period of our "professional" lives between college graduation and the age of 25 spinning in the wind, Hays' comparative beeline toward the pinnacle of post-bop piano craft stands as an even more miraculous feat. And just wait until you hear him play.
Wednesday, April 20; UNM Sub Mall (all ages, noon): The Slow Signal Fade's exotic and dark vocals are what make them stand out from the pack. The Los Angeles-based group formed in 2002 and in a short amount of time have managed to craft a polished sound and, from what I've heard, a stellar stage performance.
with Jennifer Gentle, The Outcrowd and Jealous Gods
Wednesday, April 20; Launchpad, 21 and over, 10 p.m.)
Paisley's not dead, it's just discreetly tucked under jackets. This isn't your childhood paisley (Prince) or your dad's (Blues Magoos), but a night of four distinctly different takes on modern psychedelic music.
Dead Meadow is cold funk, a grim and smoky version of the psychedelic experience 20 minutes before it turned narcotic. The flowers aren't still in anyone's hair at this point, although they're just as colorful in the mind.
She's only 19 and she's co-written her debut CD, Chain Letter. About half of the CD sounds like any number of female R&B/pop artists on the market, but Valentine takes a few risks and rises above the countless others with some mesmerizing and distinguishing hits. Songs like "I Want U Dead" and "Blah Blah Blah" have distinctive beats, while the music is hauntingly aggressive, not blatant slap-you-in-the-face hip hop. And Valentine seems even stronger when accompanied by rappers such as the late Dirt McGirt, Lil' Jon, Big Boi and others. Valentine threads her way from lust to love to hate, and leaves a trail of men battered and beaten behind.
I can't say I'm thrilled with their goofy new name, but who cares, really? Their latest show is better than ever.
The 11th Annual Juried Graduate Student Exhibition at the Jonson Galley
One problem with this year's UNM graduate student art show is that viewers are going to want to play with a lot of the art. In most cases, though, this show isn't any different from a traditional exhibit. Touch the art, and you will be punished.
Harwood Art Center
You know this month is poetry month, don't you? Even if you turn a deaf ear to poetry during the other 11 months of the year, you have a moral duty to stand up and pay attention from now through April 30, at which time you can go back to playing with your Sony Playstation 14 hours a day. Get into the poetic spirit at La Luna Llena a variety show in celebration of poetry month occurring this Friday, April 15, and Saturday, April 16, at 7:30 p.m. at the Harwood. Arizona poet Richard Shelton will be a featured performer along with a host of talented local poets, musicians, dancers and at least one Kerouac impersonator. A fine time will be had by all. $7 general, $5 students/seniors. 242-6367.
Abstract expressionism is one of those artistic innovations that probably won't ever completely go out of style. Working Classroom visual art apprentices under the tutelage of artist Gary Eugene Jefferson explore this unrestrained free-form aesthetic style in a new exhibit opening this Friday, April 15, at the Visiones Gallery with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. catered by Whole Foods Market. Come on by, chaw on some high-class snacks and take in the wild creations of Jefferson and his talented young students. Runs through May 27. 242-9267.
A conversation with John Ashbery
Boys of 9 or 10 often know exactly what they want to be when they grow up. Some want to be firemen; others worship race car drivers. John Ashbery, however, had his own unique career ambition. "I was living in Rochester," says the 77-year-old poet in his New York City apartment, wind whistling loudly off the Hudson River. "I saw all these paintings from the famous surrealist show at the MOMA in Life magazine, and I decided then and there I wanted to be a surrealist when I grew up."
Christie Chisholm—Alibi Reporter
Best Place to Buy Deliciously Large Bars of Soap
Lavande Bleu. Walking into this place makes you feel like you just doused yourself in way too much of your mom's perfume. But it's worth it. Never have I seen so much creamy, luscious and utterly huge bars of soap in one place. And the flavors—oh, the flavors. It totally makes me want to wash myself.
It's always tough for us to come up with food-related categories for the Best of Burque poll. We do a Readers Choice Restaurant Poll every year, and that baby's got nearly as many blanks to fill in as this one. But we couldn't rightly say that food isn't one of the best things in Burque. What we probably could do is come up with categories better than Best Place to Eat While Surrounded by People Cooler Than You. So we've already started thinking up some new ideas for next year. How about Best Place to Get a Keg Where They Have a Pretty Reasonable Deposit. Or maybe Best New Mexican Restaurant Where They Make Their Own Tortillas Served With 100 Percent Honey. We're also doing some focus groups with this one: Best Restaurant For a Dinner That's Pretty Nice But Doesn't Cost a Zillion Bucks.
While digging through the stack of ballots from this year's 2005 Best of Burque, a single vote from a single nimrod nabbed my attention more than any other. In the Best Art Gallery category someone answered, “We have those here?” Dude/dudette, please, don't make me choke you.
Best Community Action Group
Animal Humane Association serves a great purpose. There are so many unwanted dogs and cats in Albuquerque, and AHA does their best to find homes for these sweet animals. People, please, spay and neuter your animals!
Sure, you might've lost at “Jeopardy,” baby, but don't let that get you down. If you beat out the competition in this year's Best of Burque contest, that's more than enough glory for anyone. As you already know, Alibi readers have the most discriminating tastes, and if they discriminated in your favor, then you won what's behind Door No. 2. Let's see what's behind Door No. 2, Bob.
If there's one thing we humans were made for, it's consumption. The eco-minded among us like to pretend this isn't true, because it makes us feel inherently guilty for living. Well, get over it! You're here, you're human, so unless you're Don Schrader, whip out your pocketbook, because you'll probably need it to survive in our little society. But this doesn't mean that you have to spend your money like a hog-wild lunatic, or that you have to do it in the dark. In the following pages you will find plenty of recommendations from your kindly neighbors, who took the time to let you know about the best places in our quirky city to shop, be it something as necessary as a comfortable place to clean your clothes, or as utterly self-indulgent as the best place to get your legs waxed. Whether you're a live-by-the-land kind of girl, or a self-conscious lad with a hole in his pocket, here are the Burque favorites, so when you do choose to spend your cash, you do it well.
With a wide net cast over the Duke City, this wholly unscientific poll is guaranteed, as always, to be an exercise in profound amusement for some and creative behavior for others, as you shall witness. The ballot counting exhausted our staff, but it was well worth it, and this year the number of votes reached record proportions. So what has life in Burque been like these past 12 months? Well, things are looking up if, for no other reason than we measure success by the amount of snowfall still resting on the Sandia peaks and its imminent plunge into our water tables in the spring. And thank God it's an election year, so if APD and the mayor cannot do the proper house cleaning following the burgeoning evidence room scandal at City Hall, the voters hopefully will. Speaking of the mayor ... let's get started.
Burque loves to burn out the day, then burn out the night. We love livin' for givin' the devil his due. (And we love Blue Oyster Cult.) This year's poll results reminded us what a good time there is to be had in this dust-blown outpost. Rock star karaoke at Atomic Cantina, meeting dates for pool at Anodyne, strokin' to the left, strokin' to the right at The Ranch, low key cocktails at Martini Grille, catching a blistering punk rock show at Launchpad. Good times all around! From what the results show, we're doing a great job at informing you all about what's going on Downtown, where the concentration of people and events is most dense. We promise to work hard in the coming year to cover more events and scenes in other parts of the city. Maybe then we won't get so many people writing in: “There are bars on the Westside?”
The future lies in clean energy—so after this year's legislative session, how well are we keeping up?
Yippee! The legislative session is finally over. That whirlwind of politics that marks the coming of spring every year has wound down, and as the days get longer and the breeze just a little bit sweeter, we can all be thankful that we don't have to do it again until next year. But what actually happened up there in the Roundhouse? Will it benefit New Mexico? Will it benefit you? And, perhaps most important of all, will it move us forward?
A civics lesson from the front row
If you judge the results of a legislative session by the weight of legislation produced, the meager output of the 2005 60-day session seems sparse indeed. But this year's tiny mound of bills-transformed-into-laws comes wrapped far more elegantly and was delivered far more efficiently than some of the bulkier, noisier versions of recent years.
Reflections on the 2005 Legislature
The reviews on the past 60-day session of the New Mexico Legislature are in, and they tend to be fairly favorable. Well, maybe it's better to say they aren't too negative despite inaction on some fairly significant legislation.
Dateline: China—An online computer gamer in Shanghai stabbed to death a competitor who stole his cybersword, the China Daily recently reported. Qiu Chengwei, 41, stabbed competitor Zhu Caoyuan repeatedly in the chest after he was told that Zhu had sold his character's “dragon saber” from the popular computer game Legend of Mir 3. The game is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game featuring fantasy characters, many of whom wield enormous swords. According to court testimony, Qui and a friend jointly won the weapon last February, and lent it to Zhu who then sold it for 7,200 yuan ($1,129). Qui went to the police to report the “theft” but was told the weapon was not real and was, therefore, not protected by the law. “Zhu promised to hand over the cash, but an angry Qui lost patience and attacked Zhu at his home, stabbing him in the left chest with great force and killing him,” the court was told. Qui had given himself up to police and has already pleaded guilty to intentional injury. The case follows a rash of recent lawsuits in which gamers have sought monetary recompense for lost or stolen virtual items like weapons, armor and gold.
We should all be thankful the New Mexico Legislature doesn't meet for more than 60 days every other year. Take a look at House bill (HB) 805 and imagine if these guys were still up there screwing around.
Everyone enjoys a pat on the back every once in a while, but it's even better to get an actual award that you can use to impress your friends and taunt your enemies. Every year the Arts Alliance presents Bravos Awards to those artists who have contributed the most to our city's cultural landscape. This year, multimedia artist John Garrett has created a special artwork to be bestowed on the winners at a ceremony taking place this Saturday evening, April 9, at 6 p.m. at the Albuquerque Marriott.
The Nerve: A Col-aberration at the Harwood Art Center
Lisa Gill strikes me as a woman who can't help but see the world through a poet's eyes. In the wrong circumstances, this might be a curse. Given the ordeal Gill has undergone over the past couple years, though, her special perspective is an enormous blessing, both for herself and those around her.
An interview with Camille Paglia
The Hubba Bubba pink cover art on her new book notwithstanding, Camille Paglia is courting a lower profile these days. "Oscar Wilde was a huge influence on me," says the 58-year-old firebrand on a recent Thursday at the Philadelphia College of Art, where she has taught for two decades. "He believed in the strong critic, and I've done that. I'm there in most of my books; boy, am I there. With Break, Blow, Burn, however, I tried to make myself as invisible as possible."
You Can Call Me Ray—The Big Screen Classics series at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe is celebrating the recent Oscar glory of Ray with a special screening of the musical biopic. The screening will take place on Saturday, April 9, at 7 p.m. Tickets are a mere $5. The Lensic is located at 211 W. San Francisco St. For ticket info, log on to www.lensic.com or call (505) 988-1234.
Graphic novel come to life is anything but comic
The new film by low-budget wunderkind Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi, Spy Kids, From Dusk Till Dawn, Once Upon a Time in Mexico) takes as its inspiration the pulp noir graphic novels of writer/illustrator Frank Miller. It's an apt inspiration, really. Unlike the superhero and Spandex-clad “comic book” movies of recent years (X-Men, Spider-Man), Miller's series of interconnecting novels are all based on the hardboiled world of film noir. Bringing them to life on the big screen is sort of like coming full circle.
An interview with actor-
turned- director Campbell Scott
Actor Campbell Scott (Dying Young, The Daytrippers, The Spanish Prisoner, Roger Dodger) first tried his hand at directing with a little film called Big Night. Now, some nine years later, he follows up that triumph with an intimate family drama shot right here in New Mexico.
“The Office” on NBC
Translating British sitcoms to American airwaves is nothing new. We forget that TV Land classics like “All in the Family,” “Sanford and Son” and “Three's Company” were all borrowed from the BBC. But now, unable to come up with a single original idea, poor Hollywood is turning back to Britain with imploring eyes. Although, as the recent crash-and-burn of NBC's “Coupling” (an Americanized version of the BBC hit) will attest, it's not so easy to beg, borrow and steal from overseas these days.
The Week in Sloth
What are you doing this weekend? Why don't you come and see a bunch of Alibi staffers getting drunk and disorderly? Doesn't that sound like fun? This Friday at 9:30 p.m. Burt's Tiki Lounge we'll be celebrating the 30th birthday of Alibi's beloved Web monkey, Jeremy. It is guaranteed to be a night of rock 'n' roll misbehavior, featuring our friends The Misphats (yes, a Misfits cover band whose members wear terry cloth track suits). Some Alibi staffers' bands will also play, including Jocko Agency (graphic designer Neal's trio, formerly known as Atomic Love Medicine), general manager Carl's band The Ant Farmers, and Young Edward (a bluegrass quartet starring arts and literature editor Steve, and our former editor emeritus, Michael). Jeremy says birthday gifts are A-OK: cash, grass or ass only.
The Brooklyn Sax Quartet
Adventures in improvisation often border on the unlistenable. And for a select group of listeners who enjoy nothing more than shedding blood, sweat and tears over difficult music, that's just fine. But most folks, myself included, prefer to enjoy music without having to work our ears to their cochleae, while still being able to appreciate subgenres that are, well, a little left of the mainstream. For that lot in particular, meet the Brooklyn Sax Quartet: an adventure in listenable jazz improvisation.
Saturday, April 9; Studio Broadway (all ages, 10 a.m.): With local music, flame juggling, live glass blowing demonstrations, a bed of nails and DJs, the First Annual Curioso Obscura Trunk Show Carnival is a circus unlike any you've ever seen. Niles Mahlman, UNM sculpture student and Studio Broadway's founder, has created an extraordinary Albuquerque event founded on the simple idea of bringing local artists and musicians together in a mixed media collaboration to present to the general public for hands-on viewing and shameless gawking. Felonious Groove Foundation, Astra Kelly, Unidentified Floating Humans, The James Douglas Show and Mantis Fist are just a few of the many musicians tapped to shake things up. The Silver Board Shop will even be installing a ramp for skateboard thrills and chills. You can get a complete schedule of the day's events by calling the Studio Broadway hotline at 842-8446. Studio Broadway is located at 1814 Broadway SE between Avenida César Chávez and Gibson.
Friday April 8; Stella Blue, (21 and over, 8 p.m.): Branded as Albuquerque's best reggae band, by yours truly, Mystic Vision blends traditional reggae rhythms, dancehall beats and hip-hop. This Friday night, Mystic Vision will introduce their sophomore release, a musical opus featuring local faves such as "40 East," "Con Trails," "Great Trembling," "India" and many more.
Mike Patton's projects are usually hit or miss, but you can't deny that they're innovative. Fantômas, one of Patton's more eccentric groups, deliver an album that's something which might result if Tim Burton did a soundtrack for Loony Tunes, featuring animated sounds mixed with twisted, dark, off the wall noises. Patton's unpredictability as a musician is what keeps him an underground, anti-MTV success. However, Patton goes overboard with Suspended Animation, which is just a collage of sounds that are enough to puzzle even the most devout Patton fans. Patton's other projects—Faith No More, Tomahawk, Mr. Bungle and Lovage—deliver more versatility and show off his incredible vocal style to much better effect.
Once again, the villain of hate has reared its ugly head in the direction of its nemesis, "sexual orientation." Luckily we do have a small league of justice, and our super friends appear in many shapes and sizes: specifically, Claire Dunn and Jenn Williams, and a handful of local rock bands. Wonder twin powers ... activate.
Ask and ye shall receive (champagne)! A few weeks ago I rambled on in this column about silver champagne straws and what a bummer it was that I hadn't seen individual bottles of bubbly anywhere. What I should have said was that I hadn't been offered an individual bottle of sparkling wine in any of the seedy rock clubs I hang out in. (As if I would order anything but Pabst or bourbon!) A passel of classy readers called, e-mailed and came by to let me know that I would have found mini champagne bottles all over town--if I'd bothered to look in wine shops. Jubilation, Quarters, Sunflower Market and Cost Plus World Market all stock at least one brand, but I hear Cost Plus has a selection of eight or nine choices. Most commonly available are Freixenet (say FRESH-uh-NET), Cooks, Pommery Pop and Mumm, but look for the fancy pants Sofia Coppola blanc de blancs in pink aluminum cans. None of them are exactly cheap (they're at least $2.50 each), and most are on the sweet side. What can you do? They're trying to market the stuff to trendy girls in fancy clubs in big cities. Whatever. I still think it's cool. Thanks to Jeff and Sandra for tipping me off, and to Angela for actually bringing in a little bottle of Freixenet!
First, the casualty list. I am getting really tired of reporting on all the great local restaurants that are closing around town. I only wish people got tired of eating chicken strips at Bennigan's. Nouveau Noodles, the multiethnic East Mountains restaurant that was much mentioned in our last Readers Choice Restaurant Poll, has closed. Last week, owner Robert Griego sent a farewell e-mail to his loyal customers, saying, “As many of you may know (or have seen when you are here) that business has steadily declined, and the trends are getting worse rather than better.” The closure means Griego is looking for a new location in which to hold the series of wine classes he had planned for Nouveau Noodles. I expect we haven't seen the last of Griego, who was formerly a manager at Blue Corn Café and Brewery (now known as Chama River Brewing Company).
Route 66 Malt Shop and Grill
I get a kick out of this place, and it's not just from the kitschy, retro décor and memorabilia that lines the walls and fills the curio cabinet, or even the music that rockets me back to my adolescence, putting me in the mood for '50s fare. The space is a former gas station that's been converted into a mini malt shop with a short counter and just a few tables, including a couple put out in the parking lot during warmer months.
Pickled eggs don't suck so bad when you make 'em yerself
Any time you enter a beer joint or beer store in the South, you're likely to find a big jar of pickled eggs on the counter next to the beef jerky, the pieds de porc à l'écarlate and all the other Bubbas that belly up to the Southern sideboard. Pickled eggs are tainted by their dissolute company and brutalized by mass marketing.
Happy 300th Birthday to You, Albuquerque
Albuquerque, darling, you are looking so fine! I might be biased, but I can't think of a single other city on the cusp of the big 3-0-0 that looks even close to as pretty as you do. Sure, you've got a few blemishes, and, let's face it, it wouldn't hurt to trim a few pounds here and there. Still, all in all, you've aged well. Your mind is surprisingly sharp, and looking at you I'd be willing to bet you're just now entering the prime of your life.
King for a Night—In conjunction with the Taos Picture Show, taking place this very weekend, the Guild Cinema in Nob Hill will present a special screening of the film King of the Corner on Friday, April 1. The film's director/writer/star, Peter Riegert, will attend a Q&A session after each screening. (Screenings begin at 5 and 7:30 p.m.) Riegert started out as an actor in the classic comedy Animal House (where he played Boon), and went on to appear in more than 50 films, including Local Hero, Crossing Delancey, Infinity and Traffic. King of the Corner represents his first feature-filmmaking effort. A deadpan social comedy is based on Gerald Shapiro's book Bad Jews and Other Stories, the film paints a chaotic portrait of a middle-aged man (Riegert) who must deal with a dying father, a precocious daughter, an impatient wife and a tempting old flame. The cast is stocked with ringers like Eli Wallach, Isabella Rossellini, Beverly D'Angelo, Rita Moreno and Eric Bogosian. Riegert's previous directing effort, a short film called “The Courier,” was nominated for an Academy Award. Tickets for this special event will go quickly. The Guild Cinema is located at 3405 Central NE (255-1848).
Taos Picture Show returns
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then repetition is the surest sign of success. Following the triumph of last year's inaugural outing, the Taos Picture Show returns March 31 through April 3 with another fine selection of features, documentaries and short subjects from around the world.
Guns and Poses
Here's a little quiz to determine how receptive you'll be to the new film Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous. When confronted with the following joke, how do you respond? FBI agent Gracie Hart (Sandra Bullock) has been told that a suspect looks like Dolly Parton. While in a Las Vegas casino, she spots a short, blonde woman exactly matching that description. Gracie gives frantic chase, weaving in and out of the casino for five whole minutes screaming, “Stop, fake Dolly Parton! Somebody stop that fake Dolly!” Eventually, Gracie tackles her quarry, at which point it is revealed that the suspect is—surprise, surprise—the real Dolly Parton. At that point, do you say, A) “Ha, ha. Man, I knew it was gonna be Dolly Parton. I just had this feeling and then—bam!—there she is, the real Dolly Parton. Ha, ha. Genius.” Or do you say, B) “Wow, a badly telegraphed joke and a lame celebrity cameo. This is gonna be a long two hours.”
“Project Greenlight” on Bravo
In their move from HBO to Bravo, “Project Greenlight” creators Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and, uh ... the other nonfamous guy decided it was time to go commercial. The first two seasons of the moviemaking reality show produced two dreary coming-of-age dramas, The Battle Of Shaker Heights and Stolen Summer, neither of which made the slightest ripple at the box office. For the third season, then, it was decided to move from prestigious Oscar-generating indie studio Miramax (Shakespeare in Love, Chicago) to cheapjack genre filmmakers Dimension (Dracula 2000, Darkness). The purpose: to create an inexpensive box office hit.
The Week in Sloth
Feels Like Sunday's Nate Smith will begin work on his second Albuquerque compilation this month. The project, Rock Outside the Box Vol. II, is shaping up to be an ambitious follow up to 2003's Vol. 1., which featured 14 tracks from as many bands. The new album will draw heavily from an original roster that included Unit 7 Drain, Foma, Oktober People, Hit by a Bus and Ki. My source hinted that the number of bands may climb in to the low 20s ... perhaps warranting a double disc? Huzzah! If you're still hungry for hot local action, keep your eyes peeled on www.KronikIndustries.com. The production team that brought us Fast Heart Mart's documentary film Arrhythmia is rumored to have a DVD compilation in the works. Nothing's confirmed though. In the meantime, a whole lot of Burque bands can look forward to schlepping back and forth to Santa Fe's Stepbridge Studios, where they'll lay down tracks for Rock Outside the Box.
To guitar aficionados and jazz junkies, the man needs no introduction. For those unfamiliar with his exploits over the last 20-plus years, here's a recap. At the ripe old age of 19, he was tapped by piano virtuoso Chick Corea to join the now legendary fusion supergroup Return to Forever. Dimeola not only held his own alongside such jazz heavyweights as Corea, Lenny White and Stanley Clarke, but went on to make his own brand of Latin/jazz/rock solo albums that set the music world on fire. Over the course of his first five albums, Dimeola was voted Guitar World Magazine's Guitarist of the Year so often they retired him from the category.
with The Fantomes, The Coma Recovery, The Riptorn and Phalcore
Friday, April 1; Launchpad (All ages, 8 p.m.): If being talked about, argued over, dually worshipped and reviled still matter for rock bands, The Locust may well hold the honored distinction of being the most incendiary punk band of the last 10 years. Whether being chastised for selling out to Epitaph imprint Anti (home also to Merle Haggard and Nick Cave) or lambasted for their dubious choices in merchandise (die-cast belt buckles and multi-use compact mirrors), the San Diego four-piece tends to stir up controversy at every turn. And whether you happen to find them annoyingly gimmicky or downright incredible, bassist and singer Justin Pearson—through his work with Struggle, Swing Kids and Crimson Curse—damn near defined screamo for a generation of late '90s romulans. While that may be good or bad depending on your particular shade of hair dye, The Locust have inarguably left their ugly mark on turn of the century indie music. Half a decade later, the forebearers of Mooged out, no-wave powerviolence are still trudging along the tour circuit, maintaining their singularly claustrophobic, brutally vicious and unapologetically odd vision of future music. Friday night they'll crash and convulse through the five movements from their new symphony EP Safety Second, Body Last, their most complex and accomplished work to date.
This 21-track greatest hits release comes to us from one of pop's most prolific and shapeshifting bands in recent memory. Spanning a decade of EPs, this collection is an excellent starting point for the new SFA listener. Have no fear: included for the seasoned connoisseur are a few obscure, early and hard-to-locate tracks. Pulling influence from everything from The Beach Boys to Brian Eno, this collection is a fairly accurate core sample of what SFA is trying to accomplish as a creative entity. You may need a Welsh translator for some of the track titles, though.
Ten killer moments at SXSW 2005 (plus a few more)
There's a little game I play with myself every year at South By Southwest, where I try to see more bands than I did the previous year. A couple of years ago I broke the magical 50 mark and have been unable to match it since. This year, I managed to take in 35 acts over four sleepless nights and three bleary-eyed days ... and with a mangled left toe even.
The state attorney general accuses Zangara Dodge of overcharging customers
Ken Zangara knows money. As a Bush Ranger (meaning that he raised over $200,000 for the prez's election campaign last year), he practically mastered the art of gathering donations. As chairman of the Bernalillo County Republican Party, he probably understands the relationship between politics and the hard-earned buck. As a businessman and owner of two New Mexico car dealerships, he must know the benefits of a well-seasoned sales pitch. And, after being put on a three-year probation and ordered by the courts to pay $73,000 to 80 employees who he allegedly defrauded in 1992, he might feel the karmic weight of the good ol' smackeroo. It also seems, according to a recent lawsuit filed by New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid, that when it comes to money, Ken Zangara might be charging a little more than he should.
District 7 council race already heating up
Sally Mayer, Albuquerque's District 7 councilor, is a realtor. But Mayer doesn't own a home in District 7. She rents. You might guess she hasn't expected to stay long. You might guess right.
At the crowded March 21 meeting, Councilor Craig Loy's ordinance setting fines for drivers running red lights passed, as did Councilor Tina Cummins' ordinance bringing Albuquerque residential building codes in line with water conservation standards now required by state codes. During public comment, nine representatives of city unions spoke about the Labor Relations Board "taking years" to decide cases and said the city had a double standard in treatment for workers and management.
In its final hours before adjournment, the 2005 session of the New Mexico Legislature completed action on a comprehensive election reform measure and sent it to the governor. The measure received no Republican support; not a single senator or representative from the minority party voted in favor of it, but it passed nonetheless.
Dateline: England—Breed animals, lose your dead mother-in-law. Five animal rights extremists were arrested for digging up and stealing the remains of an 82-year-old woman to protest an animal breeding farm in England. A 32-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman were seized at a house in Gloucester, while at the same time three men were stopped by police in their car in Newchurch. Staffordshire police had spent five months investigating the desecration of Gladys Hammond's grave in St. Peter's Churchyard in Yoxall, Staffs. Detectives believe the dead woman's remains were stolen in protest against a farm in nearby Newchurch run by Mrs. Hammond's son-in-law, Chris Hall, who breeds guinea pigs for medical research. The arrests followed a series of anonymous letters, suggesting that those responsible might finally be willing to return the body. Detective Chief Inspector Nick Baker declined to say whether that involved any kind of deal, such as the guinea pig farm closing. Animal rights activists have picketed Mr. Hall's business at Darley Oaks Farm for nearly six years.
At the 10 a.m. matinee, I found myself floating in the middle of a noisy sea of high schoolers from Cibola and West Mesa. Yikes! Modern experimental theater isn't easy for a lot of adults to handle. For most high school kids, it seems like an experience close to torture.
The 2005 John Donald Robb Composers' Symposium
When the bland, homogenized pop music spoon-fed to you by mainstream radio starts turning your stomach, you know it's time to get a little adventurous. One of the best opportunities to do this comes every year during UNM's John Donald Robb Composers' Symposium.
Downtown Contemporary Art Center
Anna Tsouhlarakis' new show at the Downtown Contemporary Art Center (105 Fourth Street SW) evolved out of awards she received in conjunction with the Albuquerque Contemporary exhibit presented last year at the Albuquerque Museum. Tsouhlarakis has a Masters of Fine Arts from Yale and has studied art in Italy, but her work is intimately tied with the Southwest, often centering around issues of native identity. Fixations opens Friday, April 1, with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m. Runs through April 28. 242-1983.
Gorilla Tango Comedy Theatre
The late night anarchists that make up the comedy collective Eat, Drink and Be Larry are moving their show from the Vortex Theatre to Gorilla Tango Comedy Theatre (519 Central NW) for a show this weekend. Best of all, this hootenanny is being guest hosted by none other than the Alibi's own Devin D. O'Leary. The show—titled Eucalyptus and Other Fine Scents or The Life and Times of Dick Knipfing—runs Friday, April 1, and Saturday, April 2, at 10:30 p.m. A very reliable source tells me this show is freakin' hilarious. $6. 245-8600.
Book freaks, take heed! The 14th Annual Albuquerque Antiquarian Book Fair will be held at UNM's Continuing Education Center (1634 University NE, 291-9653) this Friday, April 1, from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, April 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Organizers say this is the biggest antiquarian book sale in the state. In addition to books on everything from cooking to history to the occult, you'll also find maps, plates, photographs, prints and various other bookish ephemera. The event is a benefit for the library at the university's Maxwell Museum of Anthropology. Admission is $6 for both days, or $2 if you plan on only attending Saturday, when all the best stuff will have already been nabbed.
Far too often, food shows leave a bad taste in my mouth
Somewhere over the Big-I and two nights before the 17th Annual National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show, my boyfriend and I find ourselves sitting in a Village Inn, one booth over from a chatty, convivial man named Matt. Actually, he is the Chef Matt, of Chef Matt's Hand Crafted Arizona Habanero BBQ Sauce, recipient of the 2005 Scovie Award for barbecue sauce. Matt is working miracles in our section, cracking jokes with our evasive and at times bitchy waitress. Service has sped up considerably since his arrival.
Mediterranean Café offers a culinary tour of North Africa
A culinary delight for food explorers, the menu at Mediterranean Café sails like Marco Polo from port to port along the silk trade routes of yore. The dishes delight with the bold combinations of sweet, sour, savory and salty flavors, typical of Moroccan, Tunisian and other Middle Eastern cuisines. Cumin, saffron, dried ginger, cinnamon, paprika, rose water, dried fruits, preserved lemons, salty olives and nuts all mingle peacefully on the plate.
This recipe is by Paula Wolfort, the author of a book called Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco. Wolfort got the recipe from Aziza ben Tanfous, curator of the Sidi Zitouni Museum on the island of Jerba, who learned it from her grandmother. It was published in a more recent book, Mediterranean Cooking. You probably don't have a couscous steamer at home, but feel free to use a bamboo or aluminum steamer lined with a layer of cheesecloth. It'll work almost as well.