Since the infancy of computers, people have been trying to develop better interfaces for playing games. The first attempt at a controller was merely a spinning dial on what looked like a television remote. Various companies attempted to improve the methods of controlling video games, leading to the invention of the joystick, d-pad (arrow buttons on a controller) and countless other ridiculous-looking devices.
Before the advent of the Internet, there were video games. Before cell phones and e-mail connected us with friends far and near, the earliest gamers flocked to arcades to play the latest Atari masterpiece with their peers. With a series of zeros and ones, some applied mathematics and some sweet hardware, a subculture was born.
In the beginning (1962 to be precise) was Spacewar, a monumental gaming achievement. For the first time in the history of the world, players could shoot at each other on a computer screen. There was thrust, there was rotate, there was hyperspace, and it was good.
Hardcore gamers and part-time button smashers unite! There's a weekend full of events to satisfy even the most persistent gaming addiction. Grab some Bawlz, your lucky controller and don't forget to put on clean socks--it's game time.
Lost in the forrest of acronyms and shorthand that is gamespeak? You're a n00b. It's OK. The Alibi is here to drop a few linguistic breadcrumbs so you can find your way through the cybertrees. Here's a really, really abridged dictionary of the terms serious gamers use, usually when playing online with other nerds:
Competitive gaming. I knew it existed on some level. In high school, my friends had two favorite pastimes: paintball and LAN parties. Both included high-powered equipment, shooting stuff and me screaming like a chick in a slasher movie as I fired aimlessly at my assailant. And then died. A lot. We never had real tournaments; we were in it for the bragging rights. I was just known for my screeching.
Electric Connections--Coming out of a drunken blackout at Burt's one night, I found myself in a conversation with Tommy Mansfield about what it takes to survive the music business as an underground act. Tommy is the rhythm section of Colorado Springs' glam-punk trio The Mansfields, which had just played an all-ages show that night at the Cell Theatre. They try to book all-ages shows as often as they can, he explained, regardless of what the turnout is like. I mean, have you heard of them? Probably not. Anyway, here's the kicker: The Mansfields have toured the United States and headlined in Europe--twice. And they booked it all entirely through myspace.com.
There are plenty of bands trying to do the next big thing in music. From post-rock to neo-new wave, the ambition to “sound like nothing else before” is as recurrent a goal as can be found in today’s modern music scene--local or otherwise.
... South, in this case, meaning Roswell. Get in line for 11 of the finest alternative music acts this side of the Pecos, including Maegan White (ex-Two Weeks to Go), Ants Have Voices, Made in Bangladesh, No Regrets and Liquid Cheese, for just $15. Sunday, June 18, at the NMMI Stadium in Roswell, 2 p.m. (LM)
Saturday, June 17, Burt’s Tiki Lounge (21-and-over); Free: Reader’s MySpace page features a drawing of a penis that has ejaculated semen in a pattern that spells out the band’s name. Now that we’ve all gotten past that, let’s discuss the new wave/jam band musical anomaly that is San Antonio’s Reader.
Monday, June 19, Burt’s Tiki Lounge (21-and-over); Free: Picture yourself on a deserted island wearing only a pair of cutoff jeans and a pair of specs with some stylish frames. The pseudo-foreboding music that’s streaming through your brain like the beads of sweat on your forehead is Shirrelle C. Limes and the Lemons. Your world is simultaneously at war with and completely at peace with everything inside it.
Brother E and the Blue Rhythm Kings take their soul music to the Grants Federal Women's Correction Facility
By Marisa Demarco
It's the kind of story that calls out to moviemakers. Eric Bland is the son of a minister, a gospel singer, known in Albuquerque for his work in choirs. In walks Gary Millhollon, a professional blues guitarist who worked out of Austin, Texas, before moving here three years ago. Millhollon, who is white, is fortunate enough to join the Grant Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, home one of the best choirs around. The blues guitarist and the gospel singer meet.
House of Folk—My dictionary claims that “folk” means “of, originating among, or having to do with the common people.” Sounds kind of Marxist, doesn't it? For the organizers of this weekend's Albuquerque Folk Festival, however, “folk” has precious little to do with hairy ol' Uncle Karl. “Folk” is more a creative ethic, a DIY attitude that involves plenty of public participation. The festival isn't just about showing up and listening to a bunch of music or looking at art created by other people. It's about learning how to make your own damn music and art, while interacting with others of like mind.
At the dawn of the video game era, lots of kids spent hundreds of hours inside cramped, noisy arcades staring at pixeled screens until the otherworldly images of aliens, spaceships, gargantuan centipedes and traffic-dodging frogs burned permanently into their impressionable brains. Some of these kids grew up to be artists. A few of them began incorporating imagery from their favorite games into their artwork. The eye-popping result is I Am 8-Bit.
It’s the jazziest jungle around with some pretty cool cats singing about the bare necessities and all that jive. Take a trip into this hep jungle and attend The Jungle Book, Kids, opening this week at Gorilla Tango. Based on the classic Disney film (which in turn is based on the stories of Rudyard Kipling), the performance follows the story of Mowgli, the kid who talks animal, and his bear friend, Baloo. Gorilla Tango has created a musical that's fun for the whole family. Twelve young local actors star in the colorful and energetic musical that features such tunes as “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wanna Be Like You.” The show runs tonight through June 25, Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $8, and the show is rated G. 245-8600.
Fred Wilson's ceramics have been exhibited around the world. Starting this week, his work can be seen at Working Classroom alongside ceramics created by students from Washington Middle School and six high schools around Albuquerque. Boca de Arena features a collection of contemporary ceramic sculptures ranging from slabs to masks, sculptures of human heads to animal heads. To create these pieces, the students and their mentor have practiced ancient ceramic techniques by which they explore figure, texture and shape. The show opens Friday, June 16, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. 242-9267.
It was a big day for women's health care. On Thursday, June 8, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the OK to the first vaccine to prevent most cervical cancers [Newscity, "The Path to a Cure," April 13-19]. Here are the basics:
Blog smack—Do you like to talk trash in a public forum without facing the possibility of legal repercussion? Welcome to the world of blogging. According to Shannon P. Duffy's June 2 article on law.com, a judge has ruled that bloggers can't be held accountable for libelous statements made as anonymous comments on their sites.
Walking up to Charles and Synthia Lin’s place of business is like kneeling before an ancient Chinese temple—the lilting, three-story roof made entirely of concrete; the massive entrance guarded above by a writhing golden dragon; the two lions greeting patrons as they head toward that looming draconic door, which is open most of the year. Maybe it’s because, to the Lins, the Chinese Cultural Center is more than a place to earn a living; it’s a tangible model of Chinese philosophy, culture and tradition. And until last Friday, they feared it might all come to an end.
With the city suffering extreme drought conditions, on June 5 councilors quickly passed emergency fire restrictions on open burning or smoking in the city and bosque, fireworks in nonbarren areas, and certain motorized equipment in campgrounds, wildlands or bosque.
Dateline: Ukraine—A Christian, apparently attempting to test his faith in God, threw himself to the lions last Sunday evening at the Kiev Zoo and was promptly mauled to death. Ukrainian TV channel NTN broadcast interviews with witnesses who said the man told them he believed God would not allow the lions to hurt him. According to Reuters, an official said, “The man shouted: ‘God will save me if he exists,’ lowered himself by a rope into the enclosure, took his shoes off and went up to the lions.” A lioness seized the man by his throat, severing his carotid artery and killing him instantly.
I’ve Got a Warm Feeling--Local film and video makers are invited (nay, encouraged) to submit their “pleasurably grotesque, elaborately perverse, delightfully repulsive” short films to the freshly minted Warm Feeling Film Festival. Entries must be seven minutes or less in length and must be received by July 8. The festival itself will take place at an “undisclosed location” sometime in the near future. Sounds like a freaky good time to me. For additional information, call 235-2652 and ask for “Paco.” Prizes (of what nature, I am not sure) will be awarded to the festival’s best films.
... Or the best. Doesn’t matter, really. It’s the same list.
By Devin D. O’Leary
Video games and movies have gone hand-in-hand since 1982 when Atari produced the E.T. the Extraterrestrial video game for its then-popular Atari 2600 home console. The game, by just about any standard you chose to look through, was a harbinger of things to come. It was lame, it helped contribute to Atari’s downfall, and the company ended up burying 14 truckloads of E.T. game cartridges in an Alamogordo, N.M., landfill. Not an auspicious beginning.
American action films, let’s face it, have been a stale lot for the last, oh, decade at least. When the best Hollywood can muster is formulaic crap like Bad Boys II, lovers of high-bodycount, low-wordcount cinema are left twiddling their thumbs. With action stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis gearing up to collect Social Security, is it any wonder that true action fans now turn their attentions overseas looking for that old cinematic hit of adrenaline?
According to Christian doctrine, Christ suffered for your sins. While I have no wish to get all John Lennon on you and start comparing myself to Christ, I would like to point out that I have, in fact, suffered for the bad things you've done.
A hit on Britain’s Sky One satellite service since its inception in 2004, “Hex” is just now making its way to U.S. shores courtesy of BBC America. It was worth the wait. Those jonesing for a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fix (and to a lesser degree, a “Charmed” dose) will find all their various obsessions fulfilled with this addictive horror/fantasy/drama/comedy import.
These days, eating New Mexican cuisine and eating healthfully seem like mutually exclusive endeavors. But many traditional New Mexican foods are, in fact, good for you. Take, for example, calabacitas--blossoming into season right now. These native vegetables have been a mainstay of the New Mexican diet since prehistory and are savory, nutritious and versatile.
Tea rooms are frilly, estrogen-laden, antique-happy muffin pads for ladies only. Or are they? When debating how to review the year-old Collectabili Tea this week, I automatically thought to bring along a female associate of mine, who is fluent in both chick speak and antiques, and harbors endless reserves of information about Lapsang Souchong. But the more I considered having a nice, lacy, feminine tea time, I realized that what would be infinitely more fun would be to find a big, burly manly-man and treat him to an afternoon of china cups and those little sandwiches with the crusts cut off.
Concert/CD release party at the Albuquerque Museum
By Mel Minter
When saxophonist Glenn Kostur first arrived in Albuquerque 11 years ago, coming in from Chicago to head up the Jazz Studies program at UNM, the thin air got to him. When he played, he’d find himself running out of gas about a measure and a half before he reached the end of his musical idea.
Albuquerque’s Gay Pride Parade has gone from a picnic in the park to the third largest parade in New Mexico
By Simon McCormack
Albuquerque Pride Business Representative Midnyte remembers marching in Albuquerque’s first Gay Pride Parade 30 years ago. Back then, the parade was more of a march that ended at Morningside Park with a small picnic shared between a couple dozen participants.
They're quite the royal power couple. Joseph Gutierrez is Miss Pride 2006, a title given to him at the Albuquerque Pride Pageant for his version of Cher. His partner, Adan Branchal, is Mr. Pride 2006, which he won with his considerable singing skills. Both regularly perform in drag at the Albuquerque Mining Company with the troupe Facade and have been practicing the art for about five years.
Jason Daboi completes Maria Johnson. They're not dating. They're not related. They occupy the same body, and both are essential. “I looked like a little boy most of my life and felt really comfortable in that,” Maria says. She can recall her first experience as Jason three years ago. “It was really, really scary, but it's that inner dimension, that male persona. Jason's a lot of fun.”
DJ Eldon is a 20-year veteran of the DJ scene, founder of housemusic.com and a sometimes dance chart reporter for Billboard Magazine. He is the man behind the sound system design at Santa Fe’s Swig and several house music nights around Albuquerque, including his popular Absolut House Thursdays at the Martini Grille.
Civil War Ends--The Spanish Civil War Film Series at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (1701 Fourth Street SW) comes to a close this Thursday night with a screening of the 1989 Goya Award-winning film Si te Dicen Que Caí (If They Tell You I Fell ...) by Vicente Aranda. Through flashbacks, the film chronicles the Civil War in Barcelona in the mid-1880s. Victoria Abril and Antonio Banderas star. The film is in Spanish and Calalan with English subtitles. Admission is free. Screening will take place at 7 p.m. in the Wells Fargo Auditorium. Log on to www.nhccnm.org for más información.
Illinois-based film and video artist Jim Finn recently wrapped up work on his first feature-length film, the curiously delightful musical/comedy/sci-fi/tone poem Interkosmos. The film, which plays out like some long-lost, recently rediscovered documentary from behind the Iron Curtain, follows the training and deployment of two would-be astronauts enrolled in an ambitious Communist plot to colonize the moons of Jupiter.
Animation fans can relax now that Disney and Pixar have kissed and made up. Pixar’s very public griping about Disney (Pixar did all the work, while Disney reaped all the benefits) came to an end earlier this year with Disney buying out Pixar and basically handing over all its operations to the animation studio. It was the most logical decision Disney could make to save its own bacon. While Pixar was allowing Disney to distribute (and take the lion’s share of the profits from) its smash hits like Monsters, Inc. and The Incredibles, Disney was cranking out chintzy garbage like Cinderella II, The Second Jungle Book and Return to Neverland.
TNT--whose new slogan boldly insists, “We Know Drama”--debuts a new series this week. “Saved” attempts to turn the weekly medical drama on its ear, not only by taking it out of the hospital and setting it in the fast-paced world of the EMT, but by presenting it in a manner that the show’s press kit describes as “stylistic” (which is apparently Hollywoodese for “utilizing as many fisheye lenses as possible”).
Love Letters to Warped Tour--Spending Fourth of July weekend under the blistering sun of Las Cruces sounds ... well, bad. But what if you just happened to be at Warped Tour, in the presence of 60 of your most revered alternative teen-dream bands? Like AFI and Anti-Flag, Bouncing Souls, NOFX, Saves The Day and Senses Fail? The Casualties? Better? OK, how about this: What if you and a friend didn't have to wait in line, got in for free and gained special access to the tour's VIP backstage barbecue?
Thursday-Saturday, June 8-10, at 20 Downtown Venues (both 21-and-over and all-ages); $24.95 or $10: With 140 indie bands and dozens of industry panelists, the first-ever Hyperactive Music Festival is like a three-day indie fantasy camp. Festival Director Jenny Gamble says she and Executive Director Allison Shaw wanted to create a music festival that was patterned after Austin’s now world-famous South by Southwest. “We wanted to put something together that could educate local bands on how to do everything from put a press kit together to how to tour or where to go from there,” explains Gamble. “We also agree with the mayor in that we, too, don’t want to keep saying, ‘Albuquerque should be more like Austin,’ and instead in five years have people in other cities saying, ‘We should be more like Albuquerque.’”
In the late ’80s, I religiously watched ABC’s TGIF, a block of four situational comedies (in 1988 it was “Perfect Strangers,” “Full House,” “Mr. Belvedere” and “Just the Ten of Us”). While I found the three slutty daughters on “Just the Ten of Us” appealing, and enjoyed the foreigner humor of “Perfect Strangers” and “Mr. Belvedere,” “Full House” was the favorite--with its relatable characters, it was probably every 8-year-old’s favorite.
Monday, June 12, Burt’s Tiki Lounge (21-and-over); free: Built on tremolo-laden distorted guitars, simplistic drum beats and unintelligible vocal wailings, Montreal’s Demon’s Claws are another band out to prove that Sex Pistols-era punk and Willows-style garage rock were made for one another.
The shareholders of Westland Development might be in for a surprise. You see, their company, which owns 57,000 acres of land immediately to the west of Albuquerque that used to be the 300-year-old Atrisco Land Grant, has been up for sale since last August. There was an offer from a Delaware-based company (ANM Holdings), for a tidy sum of $158 million at $200 a share, which the Westland board of directors decided to take. Then there was the better offer from Nevada-based company Sedora Holdings for $211 million at $266.23 a share, which the Westland board decided was good enough to warrant exiting their previous contract. Now, a new player has entered the ring—the California-based SunCal Companies. And the fight to the end has all the markings of a long, dirty brawl.
Tim was diagnosed with HIV when he was 44. He’s still not sure how he got it—it could have been the couple years of injection drug use back in the late ’80s, or he might have picked it up from his girlfriend, who has an ex with an affinity for prostitutes.
Dateline: Amsterdam--Fed up with their “negative” image, Dutch pedophiles are forming their own political party. The Charity, Freedom and Diversity Party announced on its website it would be officially registered by last Wednesday. Among the planks of its political platform the party wants to cut the legal age of sexual relations to 12 and eventually scrap the age limit altogether. “A ban just makes children curious,” Ad van den Berg, one of the party’s founders, told the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper. The Netherlands, which already has liberal policies on marijuana, prostitution and gay marriage, seemed shocked by the move. An opinion poll published last week showed that 82 percent want the government to do something to stop the formation of the new political party. In addition to reducing the age of sexual consent, the party also wants to legalize private possession of child pornography, allow the broadcast of pornography during daytime television and permit all people to go naked in public. “We want to get into parliament so we have a voice,” van den Berg said. “Other politicians only talk about us in a negative sense, as if we were criminals.” The party also hopes to promote sex with animals, the legalization of all soft and hard drugs and free train travel for all.
The primaries are behind us now and the political machinery is beginning to whir noisily in anticipation of the general election in November. I have to tell you, though, I am far more intrigued by the prospects emerging from the mists for the next gubernatorial election, the one four years away.
Pride Art—For the fifth year in a row, the organizers of Albuquerque Pride will host a fine arts show at Expo New Mexico. “We always get a lot of different kinds of work,” says Pat Baillie, copresident of Albuquerque Pride. “A little more GLBT-themed work, maybe, but we see everything. People bring themselves to the table and that's what we like. This isn't gay art. It's just work by artists who happen to be gay.”
The relatively new Ushasti Gallery (3907 Central NE) in Nob Hill specializes in art with a spiritual bent. The latest exhibit features mandala-like images created by artist Judith Shaw, a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, whose work is designed to celebrate feminine spiritual principles through the use of sacred geometries. Shaw's show opens this Friday, June 9, with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Stop by to take a gander at this vivid, deceptively simple work. Runs through July 1. 255-1267.
How many wrecked relationships do you have notched on your belt? Five? Fourteen? Six-hundred and thirty-seven? Artist David Koch has quite a few as well but, thankfully, he's decided to address them with a sense of humor. He's documented them, metaphorically speaking, in a hilarious new series of paintings called Ouch! Koch's metaphor of choice is the crashed car—obvious, maybe, but as executed in these paintings quite beautiful, too, in a crumpled and broken sort of way. Koch has painted each accident against a bright monotone background, lending every wrecked car an iconic sensibility. I checked the show out a couple weeks ago, and it's well worth your time. Ouch! can be viewed during Outpost performances or by special appointment through June. For details, contact Tomar Flores at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kendra Huse at email@example.com, or call 268-0044.
Have you ever walked into a place and it just feels like home? OFFCenter (808 Park SW) welcomes with open arms anyone who wants or needs a place to express themselves creatively. The nonprofit community arts center has affected many people’s lives, including Henry Kennison. He came to Albuquerque from New Orleans, where he survived up to his waist in water for eight days following Hurricane Katrina. He's now doing finishing touches on three large panels which depict New Orleans before, during and after the hurricane. The “before” shows a lively, colorful New Orleans with images of the French Quarter and women clad for Mardi Gras. The “during” shows what Kennison lived through—people trying to escape the water, people in the water and scaled creatures that lurk below with sharp teeth and fatal venom. Cluttered with debris, the “after” panel illustrates the damage Katrina left behind. Each panel tells its own stories, but when the three are looked at as a whole, they become an epic filled with color, culture, danger, survival and memories of that horrible disaster. Kennison's show opens Friday, June 9, with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. 247-1172.
This Just In: Cuban Food!--Over the last few years, the scrap of Central between Carlisle and San Mateo has struggled--rather unsuccessfully--to become the only Little Carib neighborhood in Albuquerque. And I've held my breath through it all.
I still find people who won’t try sushi. And I’m always amazed when I do. Sushi has been incredibly popular here in the states since the ’80s, and even after its peak during the “Miami Vice” years, sushi restaurants have multiplied like so many Starbucks in just about every major city. But, sadly, the idea of raw fish, rice and seaweed will still strike fear in the hearts of the uninitiated. At its mere mention I still get “the face” (pursed lips, squinchy eyes and wrinkly nose) and hear things like “Eeeuuuuck! It’s rawww!” Or my favorite response: “Those weird rich people in New York eat that, right?”
A guide to getting your vote on this primary season
By Christie Chisholm
Voting is just one of those things—like eating your broccoli or brushing your teeth. Society (or, in some cases, your parents) is always telling you to do it, it feels like a big pain in the ass and in the end you’re better off for it. The difference between broccoli, teeth-brushing and civic duty is that while you’re pretty much forced to do the first two as a kid, the latter is completely a matter of freewill. No one’s going to punish you if you don’t vote—except yourself and whoever it is you non-elect into office.
Job Description: The office of Land Commissioner has got to be one of the most important in the state. With no real oversight from any other governing board, whoever holds the title has a large amount of influence over the direction of our state's land, wildlife, townships and, in the end, public education, since much of the revenue from the office goes toward that cause. Whoever holds the office next will also have some important decisions to make in a pivotal time over what New Mexico does when it comes to energy production.
Job Description: The attorney general (AG) is the chief legal officer of the state of New Mexico. The AG represents the state in court, prosecuting and defending cases, and writing advisory opinions when necessary.
Job Description: Democracies need good secretaries of state like voters (or anyone, for that matter) need air. Without a smooth-running election process, the public can have no faith their vote actually means anything, and the entire democratic ideology crumbles away. The secretary of state oversees the entire election process, from maintaining lists of registered voters to evaluating voting machines to certifying precinct boundaries. The title also has the critical jobs of regulating lobbyist activity and managing campaign finance reports.
Job Description: This office is essential in ensuring that our state's tax dollars are spent appropriately, and don't somehow leak into the pockets of government employees or politicians. The state auditor watches over and is responsible for the 598 audits done every year in the state, and also approves contracts for outside auditing services.
Job Description: The five-member Public Regulation Commission (PRC) is one of the most powerful governing bodies in the state--and most voters don't have a clue what it does. The PRC was created by voters in 1996. Its commissioners are expected to regulate a broad range of enormously complex industries, from utilities to telecommunications to insurance to fire to transportation. District 4 is the only PRC district up for re-election this year that includes parts of Albuquerque, most of which falls in the South Valley. It also includes a part of southwest Santa Fe. The district stretches up to the Four Corners area and has the largest Native American population of any district.
Job Description: Being a senator must be one of the sweetest jobs around. You get a hefty salary and you get to be one of the most influential people in the country, one of only two senators who represent your entire state in Washington, D.C., during a lengthy six-year term. You also get a hefty package of benefits and, ultimately, a fat pension. You write and debate legislation. You vote to confirm federal judges and U.S. Supreme Court justices. You try to haul as much pork back to your state as possible.
Job Description: Whoever holds this post has real potential to improve the state of things in the county, as well as the potential to let things stagnate. County Commissioners help decide what to do with an approximate $100 million county budget, and makes choices on ordinances, resolutions, zoning and policies. The office also has the authority to appoint individuals to various boards and committees.
Shoot Quick!--This Thursday, June 1, is the deadline for submitting your script to the Duke City Shootout. Here’s an opportunity to see your film ideas come to life. Send in your 12-page script; if yours is among the lucky few chosen, you’ll be given a cast, high-definition camera, lighting equipment, crew, post-production facilities and a professional mentor to help you through the process of shooting your short film. The Shootout itself will take place July 21-29 in and around Albuquerque. Filmmakers from all over will have just one week in which to shoot, edit and premiere their works. For a shot at movie stardom, race to the post office and mail your script to: Duke City Shootout, P.O. Box 37080, Albuquerque, N.M. 87176. For more info about the Duke City Shootout, log on to www.dukecityshootout.com.
Sure, you can start a controversy by making a major studio film that brings into question the most basic foundations of one of the world's largest religions (The Da Vinci Code). But that's kid's stuff. If you really want to ignite a raging controversy over summer movie season, just turn a popular superhero comic book into a movie. Yeah, Catholics can get angry; but they're taught to forgive. Fanboys, on the other hand, hold a grudge forever.
Yes (giggle), Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn are (titter) dating. Can we all just move past that now? Can we finally get a grip on the fact that the love lives of Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie et al have nothing whatsoever to do with us mere mortals? Can we actually get back to the idea that these people are actors and that they make movies?
The broadcast networks have finally gotten around to realizing that people really do watch television over the summer. Having lost significant chunks of their audience to cable networks (who are gloriously unfettered by the same old spring/fall TV season), ABC/CBS/NBC/FOX have recently put a greater effort into getting new shows on the air in the June-July-August corridor. They may only be cheap-to-produce reality shows, but it still beats giving viewers three months worth of “Will & Grace” reruns.
New Empire--If you happen to drive by Japanese Kitchen (6521 America’s Parkway, 884-8937) in the coming weeks, don't get freaked out by the construction mess and dark windows. The folks at the sushi and teppan restaurant say they'll have rolling closures for about two weeks in June for renovations. You know how Japanese Kitchen is broken into two buildings, separated by a courtyard? First on the to-do list is an expansion of the "new" wing, where the sushi bar currently resides. That'll be followed by a massive gutting and rebuilding of the "old" teppan grill side. When it's business as usual (call to be sure), ask about their Omakase dinners. The Omakase is a traditional Japanese dining experience similar to a multicourse chef's tasting. Japanese Kitchen is one of two Japanese restaurants in town that do it (the other is Noda's in Rio Rancho), with dinner starting at around $35 per person--but the sky's the limit, really. The chef will personally contact you to determine the menu, so reservations--made several days in advance--are a must.
It’s always unfortunate when a great dish gets typecast, but there are few tear-jerkers more depressing than the case of miso soup. This broth is rich in culture (both historical and microbial) and is one of the best hangover cures. But the way Americans stereotype miso as a cheap sushi appetizer and an alternative to salad is criminal. Here, we spruce it up and drink it like morning tea, with a plate of oven crispy curry fries—oil being the next best hangover cure.
Can a white girl make decent sweet potato pie? This has been the debate since as long as I can remember cooking my first meal (I think I was 8), and it came to a head last year when I planned to bake a pie for an African-American studies class. My roommate at the time, whose family has soul food down to an art form, was beyond skeptical of my proposed endeavor. I remember the conversation going something like:
Wal-Mart tends to be the only place in town where one can buy a shotgun, electric turkey carver, industrial-grade trash bags and socks all in one go and at three in the morning. Yet such convenience doesn’t necessarily translate into people wanting a Wal-Mart right next to their house.
Margie Wants to Know—Hi, I'm Margie Average. I've got an Internet connection and a computer, so maybe I'm actually slightly above average in a state as poor as this one. But that's the name, don't wear it out. Today, I want to access that so-called “public information” about local political campaigns and voting that's supposed to be available to me. I'm tired of reading about the highlights in the papers. I want to see the whole picture with my own two eyeballs.
According to Paul Simon, "Everybody loves the sound of a train in the distance." But that’s not true. Some citizens in Albuquerque have been complaining for years about the noise of the train whistles that echo throughout the city. Recently, a group of citizens decided to do something about it. The group, consisting of former Alibi News Editor Tim McGivern, state representatives, the Downtown Action Team (DAT) and others, have initiated an effort to create a quiet zone within the city that would effect the 16 railroad junctions from the South Valley to the North Valley and through Downtown.
Red-clad supporters of Councilor Sally Mayer's animal ordinance filled the Council chambers for the third time on May 22, wearing crimson gimme caps, which most had apparently not yet figured out how to adjust. Councilor Ken Sanchez presented three FY 2007 budget bills, all of which passed. Councilor Craig Loy's bill expanding the use of photo-radar spy cameras to nab red light runners passed unanimously after debate about the bill's constitutionality.
You might have heard there is an election next Tuesday. Then again, you may have a life. With the lack of primary opposition to most of the “bigger” races, including governor and U.S. Senate, voter turnout in next Tuesday’s primary could be as bad as that for the latest Jean Claude Van Damme movie.
An interview with one of the world's most controversial investigative journalists
By Christie Chisholm
Greg Palast likes to read in the loo. He says he wrote his book with that habit in mind—so that any casual bathroom reader could pick it up, skim around and still glean some bit of knowledge. And so, wanting to experience the shiny new hardback with the truest of intentions, I took his advice and settled down a few weeks ago, volume in hand, ready to flip casually through its pages to discover one of today’s most honest forms of truth to power. It did not disappoint.
Dateline: Germany—Social workers refused to help a worried mother after she called the youth department of social services in Hildesheim, Lower Saxony, to complain about her daughter’s “uncontrollable, immoral and loose behavior with men.” The problem? Mrs. Schmidt was 92 years old and her daughter Tina was 68. Social workers told the woman they could not help her as her “child” was 50 years past the age limit where social services can get involved. Mrs. Schmidt apparently called the youth department after learning Tina had a boyfriend.
The Kids are All Right--An article in last week's Journal confirmed that the city is purchasing the Ice House building for use as an all-ages, teen-run music center, similar to Warehouse 21 in Santa Fe. The 30,000-square-foot space sits at 506 First Street NW. It's within spitting distance of the Cell Theatre, Wool Warehouse and MLK/Roma bridge, making it an ideal hub for all-ages music events in the Downtown area.
It's no easy task to follow Billy Zoom (original guitarist for the premier Los Angeles punk band X), but that’s just what Tony Gilkyson did from 1987 to 1996. His outstanding work was always on the twangier numbers (read: the John Doe material) so it’s no surprise that his solo work is deep country, whether a gentle prairie breeze or barreling down a prairie highway.
Painting is Dead?—In discussions about contemporary art, you occasionally hear mutterings that painting is an old-fashioned medium that's outlived its usefulness. In an age of photographic, cinematic, digital and multimedia creation, who needs quaint ol' paint?
Wednesday, June 7, Out ch'Yonda Performance Space/Omnirootz. (all-ages, 8 p.m); $5: At one point I thought calling music “experimental” was like calling music “alternative;” just a meaningless categorization for the unimaginative. And for awhile I did know a handful of people around Albuquerque who made music out of glitch beats, calling it experimental.