Tuesdays With Morrie at Albuquerque Little Theatre
By Marisa Demarco
Tuesdays With Morrie is not a surprising play. Writers Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom chart a predictable course and rigidly stick to it. The message: Live. Give of yourself. Nothing new there, either.
Yes, music fans, the Third Annual Best of Burque Music Showcase is upon us. Nominations closed Feb. 8 and voting is now open through Feb. 27, 2019 at midnight. This is step two of a process that culminates in a fabulous performance event on March 30.
Since New Mexico legalized medical cannabis back in 2007, the Earth has circled the Sun a dozen times. Amid those revolutions, the sociocultural acceptance of using cannabis and derived cannabinoids—think THC, CBD and CBN—as legitimate medication has gained significant ground here in The Land of Enchantment. And, with the 2018 US Farm Bill’s passage, the licensed cultivation of hemp in New Mexico is now ostensibly legal.
From beat-up cars to inappropriate costumes to what looked to us like possible criminal behavior (we've already notified the FBI), we saw a little bit of just about everything among this year's voluminous entries. To narrow it down, we sweated, we swore, we fought each other tooth and nail. Eventually, we reached some kind of consensus, however tense and grudging. The result is on these pages, with many more available for your viewing pleasure at alibi.com.
Retired Cocks—It's nice to know the folks in our state Legislature maintain a sense of humor. Take, for instance, Rep. Thomas Taylor's memorial in support of good digs for feathered fighters out of the fray. He writes persuasively: "Whereas the lonely cluck of the warrior with no battle plucks at our heartstrings and stirs the very fabric of our compassionate souls." The cocks have probably not spent any time thinking about their golden years, Taylor laments, and it would be really unfair to cook them up and eat them. Therefore, the state should implement a retirement program "befitting the majesty" of the fighters. This would include "twice-weekly visits from the very best cage-free hens the state has to offer, one high-definition television for every six cocks and a subscription to ESPN, Animal Planet and CMT pure country, but not to the Food Network or FOX News." Amen.
In a world where television is all-consuming, we can turn it off
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
I mostly hate television, but ever since we got basic cable I watch it all the time. It pains me to see the parade of materialism and celebrity worship that dominates my chosen programming, but I can't help myself. Turning it on and checking out for a bit is easy. And that's one thing. Another thing entirely is being compelled to watch television in public. It's hard to impossible to find a place to eat, drink, shop, do your banking or travel without coming in contact with TV and being compelled to stare. And that's just frustrating. I am advertently and inadvertently wasting my time on something I despise, which is exactly what Mitch Altman was doing too, before he quit.
After the New Mexico Legislature had been in session for a couple of weeks this year, the Albuquerque Tribune ran an editorial suggesting New Mexicans would be better served by a 10-day session than by the “lengthy” 60-day session we were embarked upon.
The Alibi gives you the ups and downs of buzzword bills hashed out by the state’s Congress this session.
By Christie Chisholm and Marisa Demarco
Politics are supposed to be about the people. We’re the intended deciders of the direction of our country and states, our counties and school districts. Our U.S. representatives are hired by us, and since we can’t all make the trek to Washington, they do it instead, taking with them our ideals and desires. “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Isn’t that right?
Dateline: Finland--A Finnish Member of Parliament is aiming for re-election by campaigning in Klingon. Jyrki Kasvi, a self-proclaimed Trekkie, is hoping to lure hip young voters by translating his website into Klingon. “Some have thought it is blasphemy to mix politics and Klingon,” said Kasvi. “Others say it is good for politicians to laugh at themselves.” Kasvi said his politics posed certain translation problems, since Klingon does not have words for matters such as tolerance, or for many colors, such as green--the party under whose banner Kasvi is running. Kasvi’s site (in English, Swedish, Finnish and Klingon) can be accessed at www.kasvi.org.
Double Think—Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could leave 1984 in the past where it belongs? George Orwell's ever-timely novel gets the stage treatment this week when the Actor's Gang brings it to UNM's Popejoy Hall. War as peace? Ignorance as strength? Hey, some things never go out of style. The production occurs Tuesday, March 27, at 7:30 p.m. The show contains partial nudity and strong language. You can purchase tickets by calling 925-5858.
April comes like an idiot, Edna St. Millay wrote, babbling and strewing flowers. If she were alive today, Edna might add: books, too. The publishing lists are overflowing with titles. Mohsin Hamid, however, seems to get the wisdom of the less-is-more ideology. His streamlined second novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Harcourt, April 3), fights well above its weight of 192 pages. Set in Lahore, and fashioned after Camus’ The Fall, it recounts a young Pakistani man’s tale of falling in and out of love with the U.S. after 9/11.
Love Bad Moves?--On April 6 and 7, the Alibi and Guild Cinema will present the first annual (we can only hope) “Worst Film Festival Ever.” This two-day cinematic stinkathon will feature a steaming pile of the absolute worst films with which the federal government will allow us to torture audiences.
The perfect New Age sci-fi film for kids who love cute bunnies and quantum physics
By Devin D. O’Leary
Ever have one of those “What thehell!?!” moments? You know, when you see or hear something that boggles the mind, beggars description and makes you wonder about the sanity of its source--something that just forces you to scream a rhetorical “What thehell!?!” to the heavens above? If you can’t recall the last time you did so, feel free to see The Last Mimzy, and the experience is sure to come flooding back.
What with all the torture-porn taking over American cineplexes (Saw, Hostel, Wolf Creek, Turistas, The Passion of the Christ), I’d almost forgotten what it’s like to have fun while watching a horror movie. Thankfully, the South Korean movie industry is either so far behind the trend or so far ahead of the curve that it’s managed to deliver The Host, a funny, scary, emotional, thrilling and occasionally bloody monster movie. You heard me right: This is a good, old-fashioned, B-grade monster movie--the kind with an honest-to-god monster in it, as opposed to a dirty psycho with a pair of wirecutters.
Drop Dead Funny--Have you ever thought to yourself, “What this here TV show needs is more zombies!” Lord knows I have. It would certainly spice things up on Wisteria Lane for “Desperate Housewives” and might actually cut down on all the whining over at “Grey’s Anatomy.” CBS apparently agrees with us and has just cast former “Picket Fences” star Kathy Baker for one of the lead roles in the network’s new comedy/drama “Babylon Fields.” The show focuses on the trials and tribulations of a small town dealing with a persistent outbreak of the living dead. According to industry trade publications, Baker and Amber Tamblyn (“Joan of Arcadia”) will play a mother and daughter who have to deal with the abusive husband/father they recently dispatched with an ax.
A Gingerbread Homecoming—It's been less than a year since the Gingerbread Patriots dusted our desert from their keyboards and moved to Portland, Ore. But since they're so gosh darn sentimental, they couldn't stay away for long. Bless their little indie-pop hearts.
Some of the fine print says: "That's right. RollerCon, the international all-female roller derby convention, is looking for certified EMTs to volunteer their time and talents this summer, Aug. 8-12, in fabulous Las Vegas, Nev.!" Perks include undying gratitude and a nice little vacation in Vegas (paid for by you, but nice nonetheless). For more information, e-mail email@example.com. (LM)
If there’s one thing The Ettes aren’t, it’s a chick band. While both their lead vocalist and drummer are of the female gender, that doesn’t fit them squarely into the “chick” category, and they’d like you to know it.
You would not believe how many bands have named themselves A Murder of Crows. But only one lived in my Walkman throughout early high school until the tape, thin and weary from overplaying, snapped apart one time too many. No amount of scotch tape could aid its redemption. Little did I know this was an early Albuquerque band, around in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
The guys in The Fertile Crescent don't know they're kind of geniuses. Or maybe they're in disguise as four shy 20-year-olds who mumble a little and say "like" too much. It's almost a shame to let them in on the secret that the music they're making is more innovative and well-constructed than a lot of what's put out by bands who've been on the scene for years and years. Sure hope they won't let it go to their heads.
We anticipate each one of Stone Brewery’s seasonal releases like a high schooler with a joint in their pocket anticipates the final minutes of Algebra II. Just when we’re getting over the bummer of the end the previous special release (we miss you already, Double Bastard), a new conception of an old favorite hits the shelves. This review is late in coming, as the official release date for Stone’s 2007 Old Guardian Barley Wine was Jan. 22, but you’ll be able to swill this beauty for another month … hopefully.
Yummi House is owned by Carol Chiang, a former Chopstix waitress who struck out on her own with one of Albuquerque’s newest Chinese restaurants. Inside, the restaurant is clean and sunny, with buttercup yellow walls accented by red, knotted string creations. Charming plum booths are embossed with black and beige Chinese symbols. The kitchen is partially revealed by a window and, from the vantage point I had at the time of my visit, looked clean as a whistle.
For a variety of users, from joggers to coyotes, the UNM golf course offers a green sanctuary amidst the city’s drab concrete and urban sprawl. Some call it Albuquerque’s “Central Park.” Now the pastoral north campus course may be in danger, among speculation that the university is considering the site for future development.
State senators go head-to-head on whether our president should keep his job
By Christie Chisholm
March 20, 2007, marks the fourth anniversary of the Iraq War, and within these last few years, much has changed. Our country has been introduced to wiretapping, reacquainted with torture and has come to feel, overwhelmingly, that we have been lied to. Some argue that because of these things we are safer. Perhaps we are, but if that is so, it is at a cost, a cost we cannot fully calculate.
Towne Park resident Scott Varner says every board needs a watchdog.
For the last two years in his neighborhood, that watchdog's been him. He's seen a Homeowners Association run amok, with rules and regulations so strictly interpreted that talking with your neighbors by your mailbox was considered loitering, a handful of weeds could get you fined and Christmas invitations were referred to as "solicitation." Varner saw a board that perpetuated itself, keeping the same players in power, a microcosm of democracy gone awry. Varner's newsletter decrying the board resulted in a fine, which gave him cause for arbitration last summer.
Jowls Aquiver—Can it really be front-page news that a high school hip-hop club put out a track with sexual content and the word "ass"? The biggest, oldest, lamest daily in the state stuck it in the feature space under the clever photo caption "Hip-hop Headache," Thursday, March 8.
A conversation with Paul Gessing of the Rio Grande Foundation
By Jim Scarantino
The e-mail about one of my columns came from Paul Gessing. I recognized the name instantly. I knew him to be the director of Government Affairs for the National Taxpayers Union. I had read his op-eds in theWall Street Journal and theWashington Post. I wrote back, asking how a column in our humble alternative weekly paper had come to his attention two thousand miles away in Washington, D.C. He answered that he was writing from Albuquerque, where he had recently taken over as president of the Rio Grande Foundation.
People attending the March 5 Council meeting found stacks of 103-page, ring-bound proposals presenting Mayor Martin Chavez' General Obligation bond. They also found single-sheet handouts from the City Council announcing that a budget compromise had been reached that afternoon.
Ben Altamirano of Silver City is the Democratic leader of the New Mexico State Senate. As President Pro Tempore he seconded the motion to have our Legislature call upon Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney. The resolution passed its first committee hearing 5-0. It sailed through two more committee hearings and gathered momentum on its way to the Senate floor.
Dateline: Serbia--Vampire hunters, fearful that late dictator Slobodan Milosevic would return from the grave as a bloodthirsty member of the undead, rammed a wooden stake through the former Serbian president’s corpse. Miroslav Milosevic, no relation to the deceased dictator, gave himself up to police after an investigation was launched into why a 3-foot-long wooden pole had been driven into the ground of Milosevic’s grave. The living M. Milosevic claimed he and his fellow vampire hunters acted to prevent S. Milosevic from “returning from the dead” to haunt the country. Slobodan Milosevic’s Socialist Party of Serbia, which led the country to civil war and oversaw the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, condemned the desecration of the grave in the eastern town of Pozarevac. Slobodan Milosevic’s daughter-in-law Milica Gajic said she planned to sue the vampire hunters and accused the police of failing to protect the grave properly. Milosevic died on March 11, 2006, while on trial before a U.N. war crimes tribunal.
Screen It In Spanish--On Thursday, March 15, at 7 p.m., The National Hispanic Cultural Center will present the classic 1950 film El Capitán Veneno. The film tells the story of an embittered army captain who gets injured during one of the uprisings against Queen Isabel and becomes a guest of the generous Countess of Santurce. The film will be shown in the NHCC’s Bank of America Theater and is in Spanish with English subtitles. This screening is free and open to the public.
The Italian, a modestly mounted, emotion-driven tale of international adoption courtesy of Russia, will either be Angelina Jolie’s absolute favorite movie of the year or will flat-out horrify the curvy child magnet. I can’t decide which.
During my time spent as a poor Mexican child in Liberal Kansas, my family got our cable TV the old-fashioned way--we stole it. Well, technically, one person on our block paid for it, and the rest of us hooked our houses up to that person’s service. I can still remember the tangled knot of black cable which spider-webbed out from my neighbor’s porch to every other house on our block, bequeathing upon us all the gift of HBO and some new-fangled station called MTV. Every Friday and Saturday night I would camp out on the living room couch with a stack of comic books and some snacks and take in the awesome mind-bending power of stolen cable. Trash cinema classics such as Magic, Fun House and Basket Case attacked my young brain like a swarm of pissed-off killer bees and firmly imbedded themselves into the essence of my childhood. These flix played a large part in the development of my cinematic tastes and continue to shape how I look at film today. Plus, I got to see a helluva lot of boobs.
Remember Jeff Goldblum, star of The Big Chill, The Fly and Jurassic Park? Whatever happened to that guy? Well, he became Jeff Goldblum, star of Fay Grim, Mini’s First Time and Spinning Boris. While the ’80s and ’90s were kind to Mr. Goldblum (starring in blockbusters like Independence Day, marrying Geena Davis), the turn of the 21st century seems less so, confining the 6-foot-4 actor to a string of direct-to-video flicks.
One for the Road—It's an exciting time for local crooner Tommy Gearhart. Last September, he released a collection of standards called Autumn Serenade; his way of cracking open a window in a charming but creaky old house, inviting a fresh breeze to circulate through its rooms and ruffle the pages of the American song book. And now velvet-voiced Tommy will carry the torch of, well, torch jazz on a four-city tour across the Midwest (specifically, he'll light up Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, and Cincinnati).
Sticking out like a sore thumb and loving every minute of it
By Simon McCormack
For Nick Pena, frontman of Santa Fe's Latin rap-rock trio La Junta, school taught him a somewhat unintended lesson. "In high school," says Pena, "I was never really a good son or a good student. Looking back, I think that if it weren't for my art and music classes I wouldn't have stayed in school."
Eek-A-Mouse is still in Ketchum, Idaho, when we speak. It's hard to imagine what the 3,000 or so people who live in Ketchum think of the Mouse, a six-and-a-half foot Jamaican reggae legend. But Eek-A-Mouse loves the West. He declared himself a cowboy in the mid-’90s and has donned a cowboy hat ever since. He's been on tour for about three weeks now, though really, he says, the road has been his home for the last 30 years or so. "That's how it goes," he says. "It's my life."
Abstraction in Action—This week, Artspace 116 opens an exhibit of abstract paintings by Lilly Fenichel. Fenichel moved from Vienna to Britain during World War II and then migrated to California in the early '40s. A key figure in the abstract expressionist movement in San Francisco, Fenichel now lives in New Mexico where she continues to create art. A reception for her exhibit will be held this Friday, March 16, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Artspace 116 is located at 116 Central SW. For details, go to www.artspace116.org or call 245-4200.
The Box Performance Space opens shop near Downtown
By Steven Robert Allen
Like most faux-adobe structures in Albuquerque, The Box looks just like a box. For years, the building housed a video rental store. If not for a simple twist of fate, it would have become a boxing gym. Last month, Doug Montoya and Kristin Berg met the landlord by accident and convinced him to let them transform the space into Albuquerque's newest theater.
As a wise man once said, “When in Rogue, do as the Rogue do.” This is old-proverb-speak for “Northwest breweries should stick with the badass bitter beers they're known for.” Just look at Rogue Brewery’s OG flagship brews Shakespeare Stout, Brutal Bitter and Old Crustacean, all of them harsh, complex and consistently on point. But with their newest concoction, Monk Madness, the preeminent Oregon tastemakers at Rogue have continued to stray from their roots to unimpressive results. Right now, every American brewer and his mother seems to think it’s his right, or obligation, to try his hand at a Belgian-style ale. The results can be disastrous for one simple reason: Belgian ales, even the strongest of the bunch, have a subtlety and traditional pureness to them that the American ruffian brewer can’t recreate. Rogue’s tribute to the Belgian ale, for instance, hinges on five varieties of malts and five different hops—an ambitious recipe on paper that damn well goes too far. The deep velour and rippled brown color is off-putting, the sour bite of it is upsetting. Everything about the burnt-caramel hop flavor and slightly hopped-up, nutty booziness screams "identity crisis," like an American playboy vacationing in an ancient monastery—and without the basic decency to learn Flemish. The fact is, Rogue’s ever-expanding list of beers seems more and more like an excursion from what they are known for, and what they do best.
I’ve always been curious to know what sort of food is served to people in jail. I couldn’t imagine inmates having a make-your-own-omelet bar or anything, but I think we're also past the days when the chain gang stopped at noon for porridge.
The Sweet Taste of Free—As I'm sure you're already aware, Global DanceFest is back in Albuquerque courtesy of the fine folks over VSA Arts of New Mexico. This time around, some of the featured performers will be offering classes to local dance enthusiasts. The best part? The classes are absolutely free.
This week, the Alibi puts Bill Richardson on the operating table, slices him open and pokes at his innards to determine whether or not he's got what it takes to be the next President of the United States. Special thanks to Christie Chisholm, Jessica Cassyle Carr, Amy Dalness and Marisa Demarco for helping me undertake this delicate procedure.
Where There's Smoke—A new University-area hookah bar called Hunab Hookah is catering to the 18-plus crowd with live music. (Don't fret, there's no booze at this place—just flavored tobacco called "shisha.") The space is at 3400 Constitution NE, just west of Carlisle, which you may remember has housed several coffee bar-lounge-type establishments over the past several years, including the popular but short-lived Café Riviera. Give it a spin this weekend as local hippies Meat the Vegans play a CD release show on Saturday, March 10. The show is listed from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., but that seems like a typo. Maybe it’s not. $4 at the door gets you in. Call 232-0223 for more details, or log on to www.hunabhookah.com.
Pistolera’s Mexican sound finds love on the East Coast
By Marisa Demarco
Sandra Velasquez arrived in New York in 1999 and developed a longing. Brooklyn’s streets lacked familiar Mexican restaurants, dishing up grub on every corner. The large Caribbean-Latino population spoke Spanish with a different accent. Most importantly, the music of her youth wasn’t blaring from car stereos. “Even though I had traveled around the globe, it wasn’t until I moved to New York that I felt really far away from Mexican culture.”
Bassist’s quartet to feature music from his latest CD
By Mel Minter
Tabla, acoustic and electric guitars, alto and tenor saxes, palmas, synth, Fender Rhodes, vibraphone and marimba, bongos, cajón, kora, djembe, telephone (and more) ... the list of instruments and musicians appearing on bassist Jon Gagan’s latest release, Transit 2, takes up most of a CD panel. For Gagan, a Santa Fean whose background is heavy in jazz and funk, the multicultural instrumental palette reflects the world of influences informing his compositions, and a determination to break out of the confines of genre.
Cashew Van Harding and the rest of his band, The Prix (pronounced the "pree"), were sitting by the radio, anxiously waiting to hear their first radio single on Los Angeles' famed KROQ. When the time came, the DJ announced the song as "the latest from The Pricks." "We were all excited and then there it was, 'The Pricks,' right off the bat," Van Harding, the band's lead singer, says. "We're not opposed to maybe changing the name to 'The Grand Prix' so people get the idea, but we'll see."
Granta once again examines the best and brightest of a new generation
By John Freeman
In the ever-changing anteroom of the Great American Novel, young just got younger, and what it means to be an American broadened significantly. On Thursday, Granta magazine announced the lineup for their second Best of Young American Novelists issue at New York’s Housing Works Bookstore.
I’ve been wondering for a while what the deal is with fish sauce. How can something that smells so gross be so popular? I mean, it smells like extra-putrid rotten fish. I’ve tried cooking with it, and the food ends up tasting like fish sauce smells.
I love Thai food, and I know they use a lot of fish sauce, so I’m wondering how they get away with it?
—Not Quite Hooked
A: Dear Unhooked,
I’ve experienced the same phenomenon, so I sympathize. The trick to using fish sauce is that you add a few drops to dishes that have strong flavors in other ways, and the power of the competing flavors balances out.
I cannot make a decent crêpe. And it’s not for lack of trying, let me assure you. I remember being 19 years old, standing in the industrial kitchen of my culinary school in a starchy white jacket and houndstooth pants, staring at the cracks in the mahogany-tiled floor. My least favorite instructor was publicly humiliating me for forgetting to “snap” my wrist when I flipped the pan. My lack of snap had resulted in yet another charcoal doily instead of the mouth-watering, lacy brown creation we all coveted.
New Mexico’s first Vitality Juice, Java and Smoothie Bar opens in Downtown Albuquerque
By Hillari Straba
Imagine a place where healthy food actually tastes good. Where chocolate shakes are as nutrient-packed as a shot of wheatgrass, and burgers are as guiltless as broiled chicken breast. In your dreams, right? Think again.
In the Four Corners region of New Mexico, a conflict over money, power and sovereign rights has grown ugly
By Kate Trainor
Like many of her Navajo neighbors in Burnham, N.M., Victoria Alba has no electricity or running water in her home. Yet, from her window, she can see the permanent black cloud that hovers low over the landscape, belched from the two coal-burning power plants nearby.
From One Who Knows—The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) might seem like an impregnable fortress to public access channels and stations—or even to someone like me or you, who might want to call and give the commission a what-for on occasion. It's highly ironic that the organization overseeing the United States’ most powerful means of communication has few meaningful contact numbers or e-mail addresses available on its website.
Within the institution of time-keeping, its manipulation in favor of daylight savings was originally suggested in 1784 by Benjamin Franklin in a cheeky letter to the editor of the Journal of Paris, where he indicated the change would save wax. The first honest-to-goodness proposal that we change our clocks, however, came from Brit William Willett in the early 20th century but wasn't implemented until World War I, when Germany used Daylight Saving Time to conserve coal. The United Kingdom soon followed suit, as did Newfoundland and the United States.
The New Mexico state quarter, slated to be released in 2008, is in the final stages of design. The last options for the coin are four variations of a zia overlapping an outline of New Mexico, three out of four also containing the phrase "Land of Enchantment." It's an accurate depiction of our state perhaps; but interesting? By no means.
Dateline: Japan--Officials at the Tama Zoo in Tokyo recently decided to try out a live safety drill, but the ridiculous scenario ended up leaving dozens of schoolchildren in tears. The idea was to test the readiness of zoo staff in the event of a dangerous animal escape. The staff was taking part in a make-believe scenario in which a strong wind blows a tree over in the orangutan enclosure providing one of the occupants with a ramp to escape over the perimeter fence. The creature in this particular instance was played by a zoo employee in an oversized orange orangutan costume. Despite the fake ape’s cartoonish appearance, the acting was apparently convincing enough to frighten a school party, which happened to be inside the zoo at the time. After racing around the grounds, the faux-furred “orangutan” seized a member of the staff before meeting his match in a zookeeper armed with a tranquilizer gun. Unfortunately, this King Kong-like finale was greeted with hysteria among the young crowd who, as they watched the drama unfold, were completely convinced of the animal’s “demise.” It took some time for staff to circulate and reassure the audience that the horror had all been a fantasy.
Day of the Woman--Maiden Fest and Sol Arts are celebrating International Women’s Day with “songs to wage peace, poetry and short films.” The event will take place Thursday, March 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Sol Arts (712 Central SE). No word on what sort of films will be shown, but I’m guessing they’ll be ... you know, womany.
Lynch goes epic for some shot-on-video strangeness
By Devin D. O’Leary
Over his long career as a cult filmmaker, David Lynch has done some incredibly intriguing films (Blue Velvet, Mulholland Dr.) and some incredibly inaccessible films (Lost Highway, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me). Admittedly, the line separating these two is a razor-thin one. Aside from a couple brief diversions into “mainstream” cinema (1980’s The Elephant Man, 1999’s The Straight Story), Lynch’s films have all been hallucinogenic film noir nightmares filled with freakshow symbolism, nonlinear storytelling and a hazy aura of decayed decadence. Lynch’s new effort, Inland Empire, certainly follows that trend--although I’m still trying to figure out whether it’s of the intriguing or inaccessible variety. Both, I suspect.
Like 2005’s Sin City, 300 is based on a graphic novel by comic book icon Frank Miller. Like Sin City, 300 replicates Miller’s original work nearly panel-for-panel. Like Sin City, 300 is shot in a highly stylized manner, utilizing greenscreens/bluescreens and digitally fabricating the backgrounds on computer. Like Sin City, 300 distills extraordinary violence and blunt sexuality into a man-sized shot of cinematic adrenaline. In other words: Whoa!
If you’ve ever been in an Asian gift shop, brushing past the “Hello Kitty” merchandise in search of delicious, delicious Pocky, then you’ve undoubtedly run across the character Pucca. Despite appearances, Pucca is not actually an offshoot of the all-powerful Sanrio corporation (makers of Hello Kitty, Pochacco, Badtz-Maru and all things übercute). The big-headed cartoon girl in the traditional Chinese garb and the odango atama (“dumpling head”) hairstyle (think Princess Leia) is actually the creation of the South Korean company Vooz. Having conquered the realm of merchandising (T-shirts, dolls, stationary, coin purses, adhesive bandages, cell phone straps), Pucca has made the leap to animation, landing her own cartoon series, currently airing on Toon Disney’s late-night Jetix block.