How Albuquerque's new “clean elections” system works
Two years ago, amid growing concerns over the influence of special interest money in elections, Albuquerque voters passed a ballot initiative creating a mechanism to publicly financed municipal campaigns. The initiative passed overwhelmingly with 69 percent of the vote.
Albuquerque now one of few in the nation that pays candidates to run campaigns. Will it work?
In a climate of growing distrust for government on both federal and local levels, as campaign war chests swell every year, citizens know representatives have to get their coinage from somewhere. It's when those gold coins translate to political currency that things get sticky. The question many are asking or, more depressing, may have stopped asking: Who can run for office anymore? Only an elite few? And if they get elected, whose change is jingling in their pockets?
The People Before Profit film and lecture series returns to the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice (202 Harvard SE) Thursday, Sept. 6. The Academy Award-nominated film My Country, My Country will be screened at 7 p.m. This eye-opening documentary explores the January 2005 Iraqi elections through the eyes of one seemingly ordinary Sunni doctor who decided to run for office. It’s a rare look at life inside occupied Iraq and a real testament to this vague concept we call democracy. The guest speaker will be Bob Anderson from Stop the War Machine. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
Old-school horror flick brings back blood-and-boobs filmmaking
From its utilitarian title onward, Hatchet is an unapologetic throwback to the cheapjack slasher films of the ’80s. Beta Barns and VHS Vaults from coast to coast were once filled with the likes of Terror Train, The Funhouse, Slaughterhouse, Slaughter High, Return to Horror High, Graduation Day, Prom Night, Hell Night, The Burning, The Prowler, The Mutilator, Maniac, Madman, Humongous, Nail Gun Massacre, Slumber Party Massacre, Sleepaway Camp, Cheerleader Camp, My Bloody Valentine, New Year’s Evil, Mother’s Day, Happy Birthday to Me and countless (literally) others. For those already burned out (and rightfully so) on the cynical torture porn of the aughts, the idea of a horror film filled with copious boobs, loads of cornball comedy and piles of rubber entrails sounds like a breath of fresh air.
Western remake heads down familiar trail
Based on a rip-snortin’ Elmore Leonard short story and originally shot in 1957 with Glenn Ford and Van Heflin, 3:10 to Yuma is the latest movie to get loaded aboard the Hollywood-remake train. At least this one goes first class with a quality director (James Mangold, hot off Oscar winner Walk the Line) and an A-list cast (Christian Bale and Russell Crowe topping it off). The only major drawback is the unavoidable fact that it’s a Western—a genre that’s more or less been in a coma since the late ’50s.
A peek at the new fall season
ABC: 7 p.m. “Dancing With the Stars” (9/21), 8:30 p.m. “Samantha Who?” (10/15), 9 p.m. “The Bachelor” (10/15)
NBC: 7 p.m. “Chuck” (9/24), 8 p.m. “Heroes” (9/24), “Journeyman” (9/24)
The Week in Sloth
Q: Hello Chef,
Last year you published Bob Marshall’s tomato sauce recipe. I made it with my homegrown tomatoes and it was the best sauce I have ever tasted. Unfortunately, I have misplaced the recipe. Could you send it my way? Thanks for all your food and garden wisdom.
A: Dear Karen,
Your letter arrived on the very day that a friend gave me a box of sungold tomatoes that he had leftover at the end of market. They were so ripe there wasn’t a chance they’d last until the next market, so he just gave them to me.
There are some things in life that have a harmonious relationship with little or no effort. Like the way you can insert the phrase “dead dogs” into any Neil Young song, at any point, and it'll sound like it was there all along. The same theory applies to pairing good wines with cheeses, and pairing cheeses with appetizing accoutrements like toasted almonds, fig paste and apple slices.
Can you buy the governor's love? Will Albuquerque lose its afternoon paper? Who's taking over the animal shelters? Will our gas bills go up?
Heat and little rainfall made this summer tough on Albuquerque residents. As temperatures drop and August draws to a close, fall can finally be seen creeping over the Sandias. We survived the summer of 2007--not because of our love for unbearable heat, but due to an effective yet short-sighted technique: upping our water usage.
Well, it's September already. Soon we’ll have General David Petraeus’ report on progress in Iraq to endlessly analyze, microscopically dissect and carefully parse for hidden messages.
“This was a dark, evil place when we started,” Suellen Strale says. Her SUV shudders across a crude wooden bridge spanning the Rio Santa Cruz outside Chimayo. “One of the first things we did, obviously, was fix this bridge.”
Dateline: England—It seems a 3-year-old Essex boy needs some remedial potty training lessons. Firefighters in the southeastern English town of Laindon were called in after the confused tyke got his head stuck in his toilet training seat. Firefighters used a hacksaw to remove the plastic toilet seat. “We were glad to be of service,” an Essex Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson told BBC News. “Youngsters do this sort of thing from time to time.” The mother was reportedly very worried, but the child was unhurt by the incident.
After months of operating out of Trailer 21, a white mobile office from which young rockers watched the demolition of their original railyard space, Warehouse 21 will finally see the groundbreaking of a new venue. The hardworking under-21 set awaited the funds for the new building for nearly a year. The exact date and time of the groundbreaking is still unknown, but some kind of party/ceremony should happen within the week of Sept. 24. The new teen arts center will be two stories, 16,845 square feet, with two performance spaces, a printmaking studio, a recording studio, a media zone, a fashion design studio, a darkroom, a coffee bar and an outdoor space.
Sicksicksick label showcases music your mamma probably won’t like
"Noise," as music designations go, is like that drawer in your kitchen that becomes a home for stuff that doesn't quite fit elsewhere. Ruler. Questionable batteries. Snow globe from a trip to Florida. Where do we stash these odds and ends? Nowhere in particular. Inevitably, they just find their way into the drawer.
Expo NM's Ford Pavilion Piles on Live Music
Seventeen days out of the year, the New Mexico State Fair cashes in its promise of everything good and golden-fried in America. We go for the chaos of the midway and the crush of Indian dancers, to say nothing of its Pantheon of gewgaws, brimming with air-brushed Virgin Mary T-shirts, Mötley Crüe mirrors and giant ears of corn. We get it. We'll keep coming back for more. You had us at "fry bread."
Wise Fool New Mexico is hitting the road with it’s latest show featuring stunning puppetry, masks and theater, Baggage. Baggage uses these creative tools to tell the true tales of domestic and sexual violence survivors from Northern New Mexico.
Ghosts in the Machine at 516 Arts
Remember the good ol' days when you'd go to a gallery, the art would hang lifeless on the wall and the only sound you'd hear is the chitter-chatter of the people around you? Those days aren't quite a thing of the past, but nowadays when you visit a gallery, the art, as often as not, has motion sensors and flashing lights, robotic arms and an accompanying soundtrack. Sometimes you can even dance to it.
Kerouac's On the Road hits 50
Sixty years ago last month, when John Kerouac walked out the door of his mother's house in Ozone Park, Queens, America was a different place. Gas cost 23 cents a gallon. The minimum wage was 40 cents an hour. And simple pleasures came a la mode.
If your music could be described as a cryptozoological monster (e.g. Sasquatch) which one would you choose and why?
Music for your inner Sasquatch
Attention, citizens of New Mexico! The creepiest creatures known to man—you know, Yetis, Abominable Snowmen and Giant Squid—have taken over downtown Albuquerque and refuse to leave. But the Alibi has a plan.
Species: Hard rock, metal
Usually when there are 50,000 people concentrated in one relatively small segment of land, we call it a city. Not so, however, in the case of the South Valley, an unincorporated area that receives its public services from the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. But that may soon change.
“I am not an alcoholic or a drug addict,” Homeless Man writes. “If you were to meet me, you would never know that I have spent many nights at all of the local facilities. But all I own is the clothes on my back.”
1) According to a report released on Aug. 17 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving fatalities in New Mexico have changed in what way since 2005?
A conversation with Heath Haussamen, New Mexico’s online political journalist
Albuquerque does not look southward enough. It frequently takes an intrastate college sports rivalry or a flamboyant British billionaire promoting space travel to draw our attention to Las Cruces, New Mexico’s second largest city and one of the fastest-growing communities in the country.
Whether big-box stores, regulations, ponds or neighborhoods, the motto of the Aug. 20 Council meeting might have been the carpenters' warning, "Measure twice, cut once." Certainly the Raging Grannies, who showed up calling for an end to the disastrous occupation of Iraq, would have advocated more careful upfront planning.
What I did with my summer vacation
Albuquerque looks strikingly different from the seat of a bicycle.
It's no secret the local blogosphere gets delirious over political gossip. It's also no secret Mayor Martin Chavez and several city councilors butt heads regularly over development projects. In this year's Council elections, the two non-secrets have collided for a perfect storm of speculation over who's backing whom to push through what. Four women who never previously ran for office are seeking Council seats in the even-numbered districts. They all have connections to Mayor Martin Chavez' administration.
Dateline: Japan—A man armed with a knife tried unsuccessfully to upgrade his weapon of choice last week, using the blade to steal a gun. The unnamed man, armed with a 6-inch knife, pushed his way to the traffic department counter inside a police station in Kunugiyama, Toyama Prefecture, last Wednesday morning and demanded to be given a pistol, the Yomiuri Shimbun reports. Officers were able to convince the man to put down the knife and then overpowered him. The suspect, who was later found to be a 28-year-old local farmer, was arrested for attempted burglary. Police are investigating his motive.
Theme shows—like this Friday's Pop Tribute night, or the Johnny Cash Tribute IV coming Sept. 14—are a terrific idea. And that's the problem. It's easy to say "'Rocket Man' is one of the best songs ever. Hey, you know what'd be cool? An Elton John tribute night. We'll invite 20 bands, all of them have to play Elton John songs. It'll be rad!"
A bajillion of the best bands in the world will be Downtown on Saturday, Sept. 1, for Fall Crawl—where will you be? Buy your advance tickets here. (LM)
Contract riders that take you for a ride
Which came first, the diva or the rider?
A rider is a clause tacked onto a contract that lists additional requirements that must be met in order for the rest of the contract to be fulfilled. These additional requirements can include anything from basic accommodations and stage setup to more outlandish requests.
Keep in mind that these requirements are in addition to the fee paid for the performance and can cost in the several thousands of dollars—and be a pain to fulfill.
The Stage Names is the transcendent fifth album from Okkervil River, an indie-folk-rock group based in Austin, Texas. The Alibi had a chance to speak with Will Sheff, the band's singer/songwriter/guitarist whose lyrics and music are the driving force behind much of the band’s critical acclaim. Although Sheff calls it good ol' rock ’n’ roll, perhaps a better phrase would be "lit-rock," a term coined by New York Times writer Kelefa Sanneh to describe the smooth narratives serving as lyrics. But Sheff doesn’t want to be branded as anything, and leaves it up to the listener to decide for his or herself what they hear. Any way you spit it, The Stage Names is a musical treat, and hearing the band live seems even sweeter.
We’ve Got Spirit, Yes We Do!—Hard to believe, I know, but it’s actually getting hard to keep track of all the films that are shooting within our state’s borders these days. At this very moment, we’ve got eight of them. Angelmaker, Appaloosa, Five Dollars a Day, In Plain Sight, Love N’ Dancing, Shoot First and Pray You Live, Swing Vote and The Warboys are all lensing away as we speak. Stars as diverse as Kevin Costner, Joe Pantoliano, Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Renée Zellweger, Christopher Walken and Amy Smart are wandering our streets, sleeping in our hotels and eating our green chile.
Can Leo make ecology sexy?
We live in strange times. Suddenly, scientific understanding is subject to a system of belief. No one has seen fit to question their conviction in gravity (not yet, anyway), but things like evolution and global warming are apparently up in the air now. Since when did the laws of physics give a damn whether or not we believe in them? And yet, here we are in 2007 arguing whether or not melting polar ice caps are a sign of a collapsing ecosystem or the eminent return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Somewhere along the line, it seems, some retrograde neo-con decided to hammer an anti-science plank into the Republican party’s platform. Now all dyed-in-the-wool conservatives are obliged to believe with all their hearts that pollution in our air, toxic waste in our rivers, oil spills in our oceans and the denuding of our forests are perfectly fine for the environment. (Apparently, both the Amazon rain forest and Tinkerbell can be brought back to life if you just believe strongly enough.)
French biopic proves sad songs say so much
Actress Marion Cotillard gives the very definition of a “wow” performance as famed French songbird Édith Piaf in the familiar, but none the less impressive import La Vie En Rose. Following hot on the heels of El Cantante and in the long tradition of the “fall from grace musical biopic,” the film gives us the troubled start-to-finish life story of a European icon.
“Kid Nation” on CBS
The new fall TV season is still several weeks away from launch, but already CBS has got the most talked-about show of the year. Unfortunately, not in a good way.
The Week in Sloth
The VSA North Fourth Art Center’s PLAY Conservatory Project is taking on William Golding's classic tale about true, brutal human nature, Lord of the Flies. The conservatory is an educational experience geared toward young actors, in which they will work closely with Director Jonathan Dunski and receive feed back not only on their acting ability, but in their skills in cooperation, following directions and treating others with respect. Auditions for the conservatory, ending in a run of Lord of the Flies from Oct. 12 through Oct. 28 at the N4th Theater, are being held for young actors and actresses ages 8 to 14 on Thursday, Aug. 30, from 7 to 8 p.m. Call 345-2872 ext. 18 to make an appointment or visit www.vsartsnm.org for more info.
There's no doubt, Doubt is good
No one can tell a sinner just by looking at his face. At least, not most people and not most faces. Sin has a way of making itself look attractive, appealing, sexy; and some sinners know how to wear that appeal as a mask, hiding their true nature.
Back to class
Frank Marcello, a local Svengali of fine dining, has achieved the impossible. His latest creation, Marcello’s Chophouse, has lured me to finally visit the new ABQ Uptown shopping center, something I’d been avoiding like the plague (for fear of cookie-cutter mini-villages in general and losing my entire paycheck to Williams-Sonoma in particular). Marcello has had a polished hand in the inception of such genteel establishments as Copeland’s of New Orleans, Zea Rotisserie and Grill, and siblings Gruet Grille and Gruet Steakhouse. His latest restaurant is steeped in class and offers our fair city a taste of the high life, and I don’t mean Miller beer.
Lifting the fog
Nebbiolo is a bitch of a grape—if I may be so blunt. Temperamental, picky and unpredictable, this little fruit has big attitude, and I don’t mean in the diva way. This grape makes a manly wine that'll have his way with you and then leave you feeling violated but wanting more.
These three nut recipes work extremely well together both in terms of taste and timing. While you don’t necessarily need to make all three at once, the cook times for these three make for some pretty sweet simultaneous preparation. If you feel like it, you can heat and plate these three types of nuts for a triple-threat single landing—which will subdue even the most ravenous of party guests.
OPM Nightclub and Ultralounge! You may already know that the self-proclaimed "VIP" dance club is actually one half of dual-city enterprise—there's one in Las Vegas, Nev., (Caesar's Palace) and one in downtown Albuquerque (two blocks from the railroad tracks). What you didn't know is that one was voted the No. 1 "Upscale Hip-Hop Nightclub in the World," supposedly by more than one milllion voters in the Yahoo Readers’ Poll. The other is closing after this weekend. Bet you can't guess which is which!
The New Mexico Burn hangs in there
I’m garbed in a linebacker's bulky shoulder pads, peering out through a heavy iron facemask, helmet to helmet with a defensive lineman. It's shortly after noon in Bullhead Park, the stomping ground of the New Mexico Burn, the state's proud professional women's football team. It's hot in the helmet. The air is thick and smells like my breath.
Classes are filling up at the University of New Mexico for the fall 2007 semester. That means the SouthWest Film Center at UNM is back with another season of great cinema. SWFC reopens on Thursday, Aug. 23. with a two-week tribute to recently deceased film legends Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni. Bergman’s 1968 drama Hour of the Wolf and Antonioni’s 1960 classic L’Aventura will screen as a double-feature Aug. 23-26. Bergman’s autobiographical 1982 film Fanny and Alexander and Antonioni’s 1962 anti-romance L’Eclisse will be double-featured Aug. 30 through Sept. 2.
The Monster Squad (1987)
For those of us who can remember running home after school to catch back-to-back episodes of “G.I. Joe” and “The Transformers” on TV, going to the movies in the ’80s meant one thing: kick-ass adventures with little kids. (Of course, if you google the phrase “kick-ass adventures with little kids” these days, I suspect a sit-down with Chris Hansen is in your future.) Sure, the ’80s may have given us terrible music, a dipshit hack of an actor for president and government scandals galore, but they also offered up some pretty unforgettable kid-friendly epics such as The Goonies, Explorers and, of course, the king of them all—The Monster Squad.
Is it time to classify Rowan Atkinson’s alter ego a has-Bean?
Though most Americans don't realize it, the first Mr. Bean movie was one of the most successful comedies in history—mostly because its wordless slapstick made it suitable for release in countries as far-flung as Argentina, Iceland and Estonia. There’s no need for complicated linguistic translation when someone is sticking their head up a frozen turkey’s butt.
Televised tidbits from around the dial
Eye of the Beholder—Americans love beauty pageants. Not. The Learning Channel has purchased the rights to televise the Miss America pageant for the next three years. Given the history of the annual parade of bikini-wearing and patriotic song-singing, one has to wonder why TLC bothered. Back in 1960, when there were significantly fewer television sets in this country, the Miss America Pageant drew 85 million viewers. Forty-seven years later, broadcast television gave up on the event after the 2004 show drew a record-low 9.8 million viewers. Cable TV has made an effort to sell the show in the years since, with continually diminishing returns. Country Music Television was the last network to try, pulling in fewer than 3 million viewers last year.
The Week in Sloth
Hanging from an aerial hoop performing slow feats of strength and flexibility wasn't enough for Contraband Velour. Doing it in three-inch heels (though most hoop artists won't wear shoes) wasn't enough either. Velour, aka Connie Wind, will perform blindfolded Friday, Aug. 24, during the Femme-O-Lition Derby at the KiMo Theatre.
King Lear at the Adobe Theater
After having his eyeballs gouged out by the Earl of Cornwall, the Earl of Gloucester utters one of the most memorable lines in King Lear: “As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; They kill us for their sport.” Given the compounded misery stuffed into this gruesome play, you might think that's the lesson here. You'd be wrong.
When it's this hot, my weekends blur into a strict underwear-only dress code, accented tastefully with a cold can lodged against my neck. I resolve to hunker down in my apartment until the sun sets. I am like a vampire ... without the yen for blood, of course. When it's this hot, there are few things powerful enough to dislodge me from the direct path of my swamp cooler and make me put "real" clothes on, and one of them is ice cream. Beer is another. Smoothies are in there somewhere, too.
There's a fun game to play when you're eating Indian food called "What Kind of Tandoori Bread Would I Be?" Are you multi-layered and buttery like paratha? How about oily and rich like poori? Maybe you’re sweet and nutty like a slice of hot kashmiri nan. I like to think of myself like a fresh round of garlic nan—smoking hot and a little acidic.
Persian ice cream suited to bold palates
“It recalls your grandmother’s perfume,” warn the makers of delicious Persian ice cream when patrons walk through the door of Mashti Malone's in Hollywood, Calif. That's the rosewater. True enough, when I took a carton to my mother-in-law after falling in love with the stuff at Albuquerque's Persian Market, she scooped a small spoonful into her mouth and remembered how her mother used to have her rinse her hands in rosewater. Though she wasn't sure it was a flavor she enjoyed having in her mouth, I can vouch for the rich, pungent bastani (Persian for ice cream), a combination of rosewater, saffron and pistachios in thick, frozen cream.
Collaborative prizes treatment over profits but still struggles under debt
Sixteen-year-old Carlos Martinez sits in a bright green examination chair in the Topahkal Family Practice Office with a massive four-inch gash in his right index finger. There is a pool of blood beneath his hand as if someone had spilled Hawaiian Punch over a bed of gauze. A native of Juarez, Mexico, Martinez was visiting family in Albuquerque when he sliced his finger on a refrigerator that slipped as he was helping an uncle lift it out of his pickup truck. The wound required immediate medical care, as one could peel back the skin as if husking an ear of corn.
Amy Goodman, host of the self-described progressive radio show Democracy Now!, is a revered investigative journalist and a media celebrity. Her program, hosted along with Juan Gonzalez, airs on more than 450 public, community, college, public access and satellite radio and television stations. Left-leaning individuals hailing from all walks of life, from Ivy League professors to pot-growing hippies, love her work. And for it she has garnered numerous awards and an impressive cast of intelligentsia friends (what up, Noam Chomsky?). Moreover, Goodman is regarded by many as heroic for her ongoing efforts to go "where the silence is."
1) State Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez got into a minor scuffle last week with the governor's task force on ethics. He isn't wild about holding a special session to consider ethics bills, as the task force suggested. Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino and Alibi columnist says the package doesn't address one huge ethical problem in the state, which is:
APS police take a few hours off to make a point, but why arm someone with a chip on his shoulder?
If all the celebrities in the world went on strike, few would suffer. If all the waitresses in Albuquerque had a "sick-out," things would be rough but probably OK. But there are some workers who shouldn't call in to work en masse to make a point: police, firemen, ambulance drivers and air-traffic controllers, to name a few. There's a difference between stirring up inconvenience, even serious inconvenience, with your absence and putting people in danger because you didn't get your way.
Homelessness won’t fade away until we look it in the face
Albuquerque (and probably most of the country as well) seems of two minds when it comes to homelessness. I don’t mean there are two schools of thought about its causes and how to resolve them--I mean part of the time we as a community want to pretend it doesn’t exist and part of the time we want to punish the homeless … as if they themselves were the problem and not simply the evidence of deeper concerns.
DATELINE: CHINA—A Chinese couple searching for a distinctive name for their child have proposed naming the kid after the international e-mail symbol for “at.” The unidentified couple were cited last Thursday by a government official as an example of citizens bringing bizarre names into the Chinese language. All Chinese birth names must be approved by the country’s government. According to Chinese law, children are only allowed to take the surname of either their father or their mother. As of last year, only 129 names accounted for 87 percent of all surnames in China, noted Li Yuming, vice director of the State Language Commission. According to the father of @ (last name unknown), the letters “a” and “t” can be pronounced in a way that sounds like the phrase “love him” in Chinese.
Musicians remind us why New Orleans matters
Thanatos and Eros, that timeless couple, never dance closer than when in New Orleans, where every breeze carries scents of mortality and carnality. So maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that despite the devastation of Katrina, the indifference of the Bush administration, and the incompetence of the Army Corps of Engineers, the city is showing small signs of a resurgence.