After being cast for a local film, J. Nathan Simmons had to wait nine months for his paycheck. That's just one reason why he’s helping organize the New Mexico Background Actors Union. Since August 2007, a group of background actors has collected 138 signatures through an online petition. The group hopes to present the petition, which outlines basic safety and fair working conditions, to Gov. Bill Richardson.
An interview with the man who met the medicine men
By Christie Chisholm
An appropriate adjective to describe Charles Langley--or at least Charles Langley's former self--would be "distinguished," or, at the very least, "respectable." A wife, three kids, two cars, two cats, a large loft and a job as the night news editor of the Evening Standard, an eminent London newspaper: all the makings of a modern happily ever after.
It's 2005 at the Emerald Lounge in Phoenix. Alan George Ledergerber starts his set, strips down to his underpants and throws his shoes and clothes into the crowd. One of the shoes hits some guy's girlfriend in the face. The guy throws it back at Ledergerber. "He's about to get up and fight me," he says. "Then I give him a thumbs up and he's OK with the whole thing. Then I proceed to smash my face in with a guitar and wander around the bar in my underpants, bloody and taunting people for the next 20 minutes or so. That was the end of the set."
MC Runt and DJ Deeko feel like they're a dying breed in hip-hop.
James Owens (aka MC Runt) and older brother Jason (aka DJ Deeko) started as unknowns in 2000, handing out thousands of homemade CDs to passersby. Now their hip-hop outfit, Jivin' Scientists, is an established fixture of the Tucson music scene. "We make very touchy-feely hip-hop," James says. "I think the genre is becoming less personal, to where now people make a few songs, get a few plays on their MySpace, and then think they can start playing shows, without really recognizing what it takes."
For the Owens brothers, making a name for themselves required an understanding of where hip-hop came from and an awareness of the days when funk samples were as common as today's vocoder trend. "You need to be experiencing the full culture," Jason says. "A lot of MCs don't go out and support b-boys, graffiti writers and DJs, but then they get mad at those guys for not coming to see them. Why should they support you if you're not doing the same for them?"
See inside some of Albuquerque's artful and funky abodes during OFFCenter's third annual Albuquirky House Tour on Saturday, May 3, from 1 to 4 p.m. The tour will visit three art-filled homes around the city, including one designed by Bart Prince. For more information and tickets ($30, benefits OFFCenter), call OFFCenter between noon and 4 p.m. at 247-1172.
Caminos Distintos at the National Hispanic Cultural Center
By David Leigh
The April cover of Artforum depicts Damien Hirst’s For the Love of God, a skull made of platinum, diamonds and human teeth. It’s dazzling. Its function is to start conversations about art and money; or, more pointedly, conversations about how money is the religion that defines the value of art. The work is emblematic of the conflation of money and meaning in our current art market—come on, it cost more than $16 million to make; how could it not mean anything?
I’m so damn tired of science interfering with my food enjoyment. First it was laboratory-created additives. Then artificial colorings and hydrogenated fats came under fire for (surprise, surprise) causing obesity, heart disease and cancer. And then there’s the great egg debate. They’re bad, they’re good, yolks bad, whites good, and on and on.
Having spent several years gorging myself on the finest barbecue Kansas City has to offer, New Mexico's slim pickings are like a glimpse into a post-apocalyptic world. Who could’ve guessed that a real-life Mad Max would come to the rescue?
Sauvignon Blanc (So-veen-yawn BlahN) is enjoying a spike in popularity among wine lovers, and though not yet as fashionable as, say, Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio, it remains an incredible value. This wine is a summer refresher with extremely aromatic citrus and melon flavors. And due to its high levels of acidity, it's one of the best varietals for pairing with a wide assortment of dishes.
Which New Mexico mountains are hot!-hot!-hot!? How much was raised during the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer trek? Who does Mayor Marty want to keep out of Albuquerque? And a not-so-tasty treat for elementary school children.
“Living green doesn't mean you have to go out and change every aspect of the way you live every day. There are some very simple ways to be more eco-friendly," said KOB's "Good Day New Mexico" host Mary Ann Orate while introducing an awkward Earth Day segment on Tuesday, April 22. During the three-minute bit, Orate gleaned tips from a "green expert" in New York City.
In recent weeks I have been reminded over and over that what is usually billed as our “health care crisis” has a lot in common with our “education crisis” or our “mortgage crisis”—that is, it is yet another situation resolvable by the simple expedient of throwing bushel baskets of money at it. In this light, the essence of such social dilemmas is purely financial. We have an answer—all we lack is the wherewithal to pay for that answer or the guts to write the checks (or to hock our kids’ future).
Dateline: Congo--Police in Kinshasa have arrested 13 suspected sorcerers accused of using black magic to steal or shrink men’s penises. The penis snatchings have set off a wave of panic and attempted lynchings in the capitol of the West African nation. Rumors of penis theft began circulating earlier this month in the city, quickly dominating local radio call-in shows. Listeners were urged to beware of fellow passengers in communal taxis wearing gold rings. Purported victims, 14 of whom were also detained by police, claimed that sorcerers simply touched them to make their genitals shrink or disappear, in what some residents said was an attempt to extort cash with the promise of a cure. “You just have to be accused of that, and people come after you. We’ve had a number of attempted lynchings,” Kinshasa’s police chief Jean-Dieudonne Oleko told Reuters U.K. last week. Police have been arresting the accused practitioners of witchcraft as well as their victims in an effort to avoid the sort of bloodshed seen in Ghana a decade ago, when 12 suspected penis-nappers were beaten to death by angry mobs. “I’m tempted to say it’s one huge joke,” Oleko said. “But when you try to tell the victims that their penises are still there, they tell you that it’s become tiny or that they’ve become impotent. To that I tell them, ‘How do you know if you haven’t gone home and tried it?’ ”
Keya Lea Horiuchi, a filmmaker from Colorado, is touring the region with her documentary film Considering Democracy: 8 Things to Ask Your Representative. Horiuchi traveled around the world asking people what they thought of the United States. Our current administration is billing democracy as a cure for all the world’s political ills. But what does the rest of the world think about U.S. domestic and foreign policy? Americans are continually told through their media that freedom and democracy are being given to people abroad, but is this true? Topics like health care, foreign policy, the media, campaign finance, foreign aid and even vacation time are discussed by citizens of 10 different countries, resulting in an eye-opening snapshot of world politics and international relations today. Considering Democracy will screen locally at the Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center on Tuesday, May 6, at 7 p.m. A $5 donation is suggested, but no one will be turned away. For more info on the film, log on to www.consideringdemocracy.com.
Success has many parents; failure is an orphan. Given that truism, it’s easy to trace the lineage of Baby Mama back to today’s reigning queens of comedy, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Take Fey and Poehler out of the equation and Baby Mama is a harmless piece of PG-13 fluffery. Keep them front and center and Baby Mama pops with energy, intelligence and humor.
This weekend, the Israeli Film Festival returns to the Guild Cinema in Nob Hill. Presented by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Mexico, the five-day festival will present a trio of cutting-edge Israeli films. Beaufort is a historical drama zeroing in on the Israeli Army’s brief occupation of a 12th century Lebanese fort, which marked the start of the first Lebanon war. The Bubble is a popular tale of sexually progressive twentysomethings living in Tel Aviv’s hippest neighborhood. Jellyfish is a half-dreamy drama about three very different Tel Aviv women whose intersecting lives highlight their long-unspoken sadness.
The O.K. Corral is a known home to famous shoot-outs throughout history, but how about show-stopping musical numbers? Peter Link, Joe Bravaco and Larry Rosler took the legend of Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp and the gunslingin' at the O.K. Corral and spruced it up a bit to make a new musical, Sundown. Jane and Cy Hoffman direct the New Mexico premiere at the (newly remodeled) Adobe Theater (9813 Fourth Street NW), opening this Friday, April 25, at 8 p.m. The show runs through May 18 with shows every Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $14 general admission, $12 students and seniors. Call 898-9222 for tickets and info.
Rock the 9's inaugural concert plugs in to Gathering of Nations weekend
By Marisa Demarco and Laura Marrich
It’s called "The 49"—a singing party that wraps up powwows across North America. In Albuquerque, it used to be held on Nine Mile Hill after the Gathering of Nations. "You'd drive up there off in those sand dunes and there would be thousands of Natives partying," says Rod Lacy.
North America's largest powwow is packed with Native foods, traditional dancing and music, and 800 artists and traders. This year's "Stage 49" features music and entertainers from across North America (visit the website above for a comprehensive list). Headliners are Joanne Shenandoah, Robert Mirabal, Eli Secody, Kēvens, Native Roots, Gabriel Ayala and Derek Miller.
Trifecta+ Entertainment, writer/director Scotty Milder and the rest of the team behind the multiple award-winning film “Sweetie” are hoping to hit the road, taking their New Mexico-shot short all the way to the Cannes Film Festival in France. The seven-minute thriller, about a creepy dude (Chad Brummett) with a dead body (Emily Villela) in his basement freezer, captured the top spot at the local leg of the 48 Hour Film Project and went on to nab third place in the 48 Hour Film Project’s annual Filmapalooza competition in San Jose, Calif. Now it has been selected to screen in the “Short Film Corner” at Cannes.
Hard to believe it’s taken kung fu kings Jackie Chan and Jet Li this long to join forces and make a movie. Martial arts fans have, no doubt, been itching for just this sort of matchup for years. The acrobatic artistry of Jackie Chan, the high-flying mastery of Jet Li--which will prove superior? While The Forbidden Kingdom doesprovide the advertised showdown, hardcore martial arts fans might have hoped for a more impressive framework for this historic head-to-head to occur in.
Documentary paints a colorful picture of urban art
By Devin D. O’Leary
Bomb It, the latest documentary from Jon Reiss (Better Living Though Circuitry, Virtues of Negative Fascination), certainly aims its lens at a colorful subject. Hip-hopping its way around the globe to report the current state of the graffiti art movement, the film captures (to bite a lyric from Grandmaster Melle Mel) “serenades of blue and red and the beauty of the rainbow fills your head.”
Of all the post-“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” careers, host Jai Rodriguez’ is the most in need of, well, a makeover. Jai just wrapped up his prestigious stint as host of “America’s Prom Queen.” Now he’s deeply intrenched in the intrigue and drama of “Groomer Has It,” an elimination competition aimed at finding America’s next great dog groomer.
Oh, man. As part of the Alibi's Midnight Movie Madness, the Guild Cinema will screen a print of Heavy Metal this weekend. The 1981 movie is a Trifecta of stoner delights: rotoscopic animation, porn 'n' gore-heavy content and a kick-ass soundtrack. Devo, Black Sabbath, Nazareth, Blue Öyster Cult, Cheap Trick, Grand Funk Railroad, Journey, Stevie Nicks and Sammy Hagar are some of the names who pitched in music for the animated fantasy flick. The original movie score was performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and written by Elmer Bernstein. (He's the composer behind not only The Ten Commandments and The Magnificent Seven, but pop ephemera like the incidental music in Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and the opening signature of National Geographic TV specials. Elmer's the man.) Heavy Metal shows at 11 p.m. on Friday, April 25, and 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 26. All seats are $7. And if you miss the opportunity to see Heavy Metal on an actual movie screen, you'll regret for the rest of your life. Just sayin'.
While traveling to make their new album at Black Lodge Recording Studios in Eudora, Kan., the members of We Were Born As Ghosts carried a large plastic “E” with them for inspiration. “It reminded us to be epic,” singer/guitarist JD Harding says. “It became our muse during the entire recording process.”
Week long summit promotes local and international hip-hop
By Justin Hood
Push the presidential debates and other politics aside: The New Mexico Hip-Hop Congress has its own agenda for spreading diversity. NMHHC Organizers Bryan Gibel, Sugar Shane and Travis Cole have been active within New Mexico's hip-hop community for years. With the help of other die-hard activists like Breakin' Hearts breakdance promoter Cyrus Gould, New Mexico's HHC jumped up on its feet last September. Not even one year old, the HHC is building momentum with New Mexico’s first International Hip-Hop Awareness Week.
Some discouraging news for the Albuquerque Police Department. Which reality show got a dose of New Mexico flavor? What does an Albuquerque-based mining company hope to find in the Ortiz mountains? And police say they've caught the ______ bandits.
The process, the upside and the weight of responsibility on party representatives
By Simon McCormack
Dozens of signs are placed strategically along the entrance to the National Hispanic Cultural Center. People with leaflets, stickers and large posters eagerly approach passersby, imploring them to select their candidate. But the folks here aren’t voting for someone to fill a public office. They’re choosing the delegates who will go to the Democratic National Convention in Denver, where the party’s 2008 presidential nominee will be announced.
As they battle the evil oil monster, opponents of energy exploration near Santa Fe drape the green cape of environmentalism around their shoulders. Underneath they wear a body stocking knit with threads of hypocrisy.
Dateline: Germany--A Frankfurt man survived a 25-foot plunge down an elevator shaft when he fell on a woman who had tumbled down the same shaft a day earlier. Jen Wilhelms, 27, was unhurt after landing on the 57-year-old woman. He managed to free himself from the elevator shaft, located in his apartment building, and called rescue services. The woman was taken to a nearby hospital where doctors reported her in critical condition. Police spokesperson Manfred Vonhausen said, “The woman had been lying unconscious in the shaft for some time already. Although it made her injuries worse, it also probably saved her life that he fell on her as it meant he knew she was there and managed to get help.” Wilhelms said he had slipped as he walked past the elevator shaft, which had been left open while it was undergoing repairs. “I saw the door open and I just wanted to check whether somebody was finally working on the elevator,” said Wilhelms. “I took a closer look inside the shaft as it was pitch black and must have slipped off the edge somehow.” Rescue workers said that without her klutzy rescuer, the woman would have died from internal bleeding.
Hidden Stories at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
By Amy Dalness
The rotunda entrance of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center fills with a pearly white glow. The sun rays filtering in from the skylights bounce off three bright paper panels attached to sticks with coarse twine hanging from the ceiling. The effect is engulfing, bringing the viewer into a scene literally drawn with sand and adobe brick on the floor below the floating installation. This is the gateway into to Deborah A. Jojola's visual narrative, Hidden Stories, on display through April 27.
Amity Island beachgoers didn't get much warning about the great white stalking the shores. The mayor ensured tourists were ignorant of the threat by covering it with false medical reports and fancy billboards. It took multiple attacks for shark hunter Quint to take to the seas with Police Chief Martin Brody and marine biologist Matt Hooper, setting up Brody's classic line in Jaws: "You're gonna need a bigger boat."
If you want poetry sans pretense, look to the youth.
That’s Sal Treppiedi‘s firmly held belief. Treppiedi, the founder of VE=NT: Voices Emerging=New Thunder Middle School Poetry Slam, is out to prove young poets can impress. He knows the slammers who take the stage during VE=NT are unlike many of their adult counterparts. “You’re going to get poetry in its purest form,” Treppiedi says. “These kids aren’t doing this to get the perfect score; they’re writing for the sake of writing and it’s very organic.”
My sister eats egg whites and throws away the yolks. She says it’s the low-fat, low-cholesterol way to go. Personally, I’m astounded at this, as the yolk seems, to me, the only thing in the egg worth eating. Is my sister crazy, or is she onto something?
Also, sometimes when I eat eggs I get the sulfur burps. What’s up with that? And what’s your advice on the best way to hard-boil an egg?
A: I agree with you, YF, your sister’s egg white habit is odd, although she’s hardly alone. I used to work with a weightlifter guy who peeled eggs on coffee break and ate the whites. When I asked for his yolks he looked at me funny.
On San Pedro and Candelaria is a long-titled Pacific Paradise Tropical Grill and Sushi Bar, cooking up a mixed bag of Pacific offerings. Pacific Paradise serves up the diverse cuisine from all around the Ring of Fire, Asia and Hawaii.
Confusion and infighting addles the Native American health care system. But some groups are ready for change.
By Marisa Demarco
Navida Johnson's not sure how her $650 hospital bill ended up in collections. On Veteran's Day in November of last year, she had to take her ill 14-year-old son to the hospital. Indian Health Services (IHS) wasn't open so she went to UNM Hospital. To get the bill taken care of by IHS, Johnson says she knew she had to give IHS notification of her hospital visit within the following 48 hours. "Which I did," says Johnson. "I was following everything they told me."
Allergies and competing CD releases mean spring's finally returned to Albuquerque. If you're itching for fresh local albums, relief is coming your way this Friday, April 18. Can't help with the rapid-fire sneezing, though. Sorry.
Toddy T. Bones, mustachioed ruffian extraordinaire, hosts his one-millionth annual Mustache Party this Friday at Atomic Cantina (21+). The Revenge, Black Maria, Icky and the Yuks,Scenester and Don Yancey will serenade itchy labra all night long. No chinstraps, please. (LM)
Troupe offers rare chance to hear classical and folk music of India played by revered performers
By Mel Minter
In the United States, tabla master Zakir Hussain may be better known for his groundbreaking work in the World Music groups Shakti and Planet Drum, not to mention his wide-ranging collaborations with musicians as diverse as George Harrison and Charles Lloyd. In his native India, however, he is revered as a performer of his country’s ancient and extraordinarily complex classical repertoire.
As a former student of theater at UNM, I vividly recall the excitement generated by the Words Afire Festival. It meant an opportunity for more aspiring actors to get stage time and budding playwrights to see their works actually performed. Months of preparation madness followed by weeks of performances created a draining, frenzied chaos worth every moment. Words Afire is a boon to the Albuquerque theater scene and we're lucky to have it. This year's festival opens on Thursday, April 17, with Pajaros de Mi Sangre: My Blood Birds by Don Garcia at Rodey Theatre and The Feather by Mars Mråz at Theatre X. Tickets to all shows at Rodey are $15 general, $10 seniors and $7 students, and $10 general, $8 seniors and $7 students at Theatre X, available at the UNM ticket office (925-5858). Keep an eye on the Arts Calendar for a complete list of all Words Afire productions or visit wordsafire.unm.edu. Support our university's theater program—it cultivates the future of performance art in our city.
My boyfriend is a local-food freak. When we go out to eat, he insists on interrogating the waitstaff with questions about where the food comes from. For every menu item he considers, the server has to run to the kitchen to answer his questions. My boyfriend isn’t normally such a high-maintenance guy, but in these situations he seems to think he’s Paris. How can I get him to calm down and just accept what’s written on the menu, and make his decisions accordingly?
A: In my opinion, you don’t need to calm down your boyfriend–you need to calm down, girlfriend. Although it’s possible your boyfriend thinks he’s some kind of spoiled brat, it sounds like he’s probably making these demands only partly out of self-interest, and in part because he wants to push the restaurant in a more sustainable direction.
There are a lot of Mexican restaurants in New Mexico that really aren’t all that Mexican. Their menus are all pretty much the same: enchiladas, tacos and burritos served with beans, rice, a few shreds of iceberg lettuce and a measly scattering of tomato. After a while it all blends together into one big dish of mushy tortillas buried under cheese that’s more at home in Wisconsin than Oaxaca.
If someone told you they were reading a story about newspapers, it’d be a safe bet the piece that struck their fancy was about declining circulation and newspapers kicking the bucket. I can’t recall a story about newspaper trends that wasn’t about their demise. I’m guilty of it myself [Thin Line: “Circulation Consternation,” Nov. 22-28, 2007], but it’s time to stop.
What led to a New Mexico man's death, according to a federal lawsuit? A study finds the disparity among rich and poor in New Mexico is ... . What were protesters in Santa Fe hot about? And the governor unveils a shiny new keepsake.
Dateline: Tanzania--In a state of the nation speech delivered earlier this month, President Jakaya Kikwete finally came out strongly against witch doctors who kill albinos and harvest their body parts in the hope it will bring prosperity. In condemning the practice, Kikwete noted that 19 albinos have been murdered since March 2007, mostly in the Victoria region of his East African nation. Another two albinos were missing and presumed dead. “Sometimes, word spreads around that body parts of people with certain physical attributes, like bald people or albinos, contribute greatly to attaining quick prosperity,” Kikwete said in the speech. “These killings are shameful and distressing to our society,” he added.
Experiments in Cinema: Version 3.0, UNM instructor Bryan Konefky’s third annual outing of experimental cinema from around the world, launches this Thursday with an evening of collage film. “Cut Up or Shut Up” will take place beginning at 8 p.m. at Albuquerque’s 516 ARTS (516 Central SW). This collection of cut-and-paste films will include work by Stan Vanderbeek, who inspired Terry Gilliam’s animation for the Monty Python comedy troupe, and Virgil Widrich, whose work “Fast Film” is considered one of the most ambitious collage films ever made.
Raunchy comedy? Sentimental romance? Sounds like Judd Apatow.
By Devin D. O’Leary
“From the guys who brought you The 40-Year-Old Virgin” is getting to be like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for movie comedies. Judd Apatow has only directed one movie since The 40-Year-Old Virgin, but his name has been attached in one way or another to nine films since then: The TV Set, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Knocked Up, Superbad, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Drillbit Taylor, this weekend’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall plus Pineapple Express and Step Brothers, which will hit theaters this summer. All of them were produced (or executive produced) by Apatow and feature pals he’s known since the days of writing, producing and directing “Freaks and Geeks.”
Once again, Magnolia Pictures has snapped up all of the short films, both live-action and animated, that were nominated for Oscars at this year’s Academy Awards and is parading them around the country in one big marathon of goodness.
Hollywood’s hot new trend: Work stoppages in organized labor
By Devin D. O’Leary
Now that feature films are back in production and new TV shows are again filtering onto the airwaves, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief that the Writers Guild of America strike is over. Right? Well, sorry to be the bearer of (yet more) bad news, but there is the threat of another strike hanging over Hollywood’s head. With the writers properly kicked like the dogs they are, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Televison Producers is preparing to do the same to actors.