The Summer of the Can continues. You remember the metal vessel that, for most kids' high school years, was the definitive method of putting beer in one's body? Whether "shot-gunning" in someone's backyard using a car key to punch an air hole for chugging in seconds, or lined up in a magnificent row in a party fridge, the can always seemed more palatable to us as young drinkers. The bottle, on the other hand, somehow seemed too luxurious, adult, and even snobby with its green-tinted curves. Well, thanks to Oskar Blues, the Colorado-based brewery we recently praised for canning their brews, we're reverting.
A crash course in racing
The grandstanding starts on Bobby Foster Road, a barely visible side street that’s easy to miss. Flashy cars with overlarge spoilers and air-intakes on the hoods exit the industrial sector of South Broadway and climb into the dunes. Bobby Foster leads to another long desert road that stretches into sandy nothing. Wind kicks up plenty of dirt, and the sporty vehicles become only taillights. One more turnoff marked by a badly faded sign with the National Hot Rod Association’s logo, and then we're climbing up the hill. The Albuquerque Dragway still isn't in sight.
Albuquerque's week-long race to shoot, edit and premiere 12-minute screenplays by seven screenwriters from around the country kicks off Friday, July 25. Join screenwriters and volunteers that night at the launch party from 8 to 11 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Downtown (in the Atrium). Then, on Wednesday, July 30, buy weary crew members a drink at the wrap party at the same hotel, in the Sendero Room, starting at 7 p.m. For more information, visit dukecityshootout.com. Check back here next week for information on screening times and gala events.
Holy sequels! The bat is back.
This second installment of Christopher Nolan's dark, vengeful and complicated Batman had some heavy expectations looming over it. First shoe to fill: Batman Begins. The return of Batman in 2005 was welcomed and well-received by both die-hard fans and casual moviegoers, setting a new standard for all superhero flicks—not just Gotham's caped crusader. Second shoe: The second-to-last performance in the short but bright career of Heath Ledger. Since his passing early this year, all eyes have been on The Dark Knight, in which Ledger portrays superfiend Joker—a role last filled impeccably by Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman. There's been buzz on the Web for months of a posthumous Oscar nod for Ledger—a rare honor since there's only been one such win in Academy history to date (Peter Finch for his leading role in Network, 1977). It’s high praise for Ledger, especially since The Dark Knight was just released last week. Expectations skyrocket.
Middle-aged ABBA musical not quite as cringetastic as those words imply
This isn’t the first time the music of ABBA has served as the musical crux in a film about a wedding. 1994’s Muriel’s Wedding used the title character’s obsession with the '70s Swedish quartet’s glittery lady-music to underscore Muriel’s disconnected idealization of romance, glamour and marriage-centered happiness, an obsession that leaves her struggling to construct a true sense of self. Mamma Mia!, on the other hand, features ABBA as a way to ... sing along to ABBA songs. And dance.
“Project Runway” on Bravo
Here's a weird criticism: "Project Runway" is too much like ... itself.
The Week in Sloth
After its grand re-opening on June 27, Warehouse 21 is back to offering Santa Fe youths a place to rock and get their art on. Starting Thursday, July 24, Warehouse 21 presents its first theatrical performance under the new roof. Through the Mirror, an original play written by Winston Morris Greene, tells the story of Adam Stern, a high school graduate with no ambition who's drafted to fight in the Vietnam War. Adam's close friend Jacob Heart joins the war effort to help keep Adam safe, but when only Adam returns home, everything comes crashing down around him. Through the Mirror—starring youth actors Winston Morris Greene, Adam Frank, Isabella Buckner, Ryan Kochevar, Jeffrey Stanke and Serrana Gay—opens with a pay-what-you-wish performance on Thursday, July 24, at 7 p.m. and continues Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. through Aug. 2. Tickets are $10 adults, $5 teens. For more info and reservations, call (505) 989-4423.
The Madness of King Georgie Bush at the N4th Theater
No matter how loved or hated, every president will be mocked. It's included in the Constitution under "Responsibilities of the Head of State”: You shall be made fun of in good times and in bad—deal with it.
Jail-based charter school is the first of its kind in the United States
The first time Jennifer Pate walked into her new workplace, coworkers asked her if she was OK. "I must have been pale as a ghost and just doe-eyed," she says. "Here I was all tough, thinking, I can do this, no big deal. This will be a great job. Soon as that big door goes kachoom behind you, it was like, Oh my god. I'm on the inside now."
Police and citizens react to six killings in eight days
Saturday, July 5: A man living at an East Central apartment complex is arrested on charges of shooting and killing one person and wounding another.
How does the governor say we should deal with high gas prices? What Albuquerque phenomenon is migrating to Santa Fe? An unwelcome surprise at a garage sale for a good cause. And a Rio Rancho resident cashes in on what game show?
Outed CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson discusses her memoir, the FISA amendment and her move to New Mexico
Valerie Plame Wilson’s identity is no longer a secret. Five years and two lawsuits later, neither is her story. In her October 2007 memoir, Fair Game: How a Top CIA Agent Was Betrayed by Her Own Government, former agent Wilson chronicles how her life shifted from serving her country to suing her country.
In recent weeks, Sen. John McCain has begun to slip into a repetitive refrain, one intended to distinguish his position on Iraq from Sen. Barack Obama’s.
Jim Scarantino’s “Trolley Roundabout” column [Re: The Real Side, July 17-23] was full of out-and-out falsehoods.
DATELINE: Taiwan—An amorous couple survived a 150-foot plunge down the face of a cliff after their lovemaking set the car rolling. “They had parked up close to the edge of the mountain and had left the handbrake off," said a police spokesperson. "They were lucky they were not more seriously hurt." Lin Gu, 25, and Lee Shin, 29, suffered only a few broken bones after the incident. The couple managed to climb back up the hill to seek assistance, though Shin pleaded with those who helped her not to reveal the cause of the accident for fear that her husband would seek a divorce.
The Agency (111 Fourth Street SW, between Central and Gold) continues its program of innovative, all-ages-friendly events with three shows this week. That's three more chances to explore the upstart multi-use music space, which is developing a decidedly electronic bent. Visit the-agency.org for heaps of more information.
Ebullient Cubano brings Grammy-winning crew to second week of the 2008 New Mexico Jazz Festival
On virtuoso clarinetist/saxophonist and award-winning composer Paquito D’Rivera’s most recent Latin jazz recording, Funk Tango, his omnivorous musical appetite provides a wide-ranging feast for the ears—from a bop-infused tango (Astor Piazolla’s “Revirado”) to a dreamy bolero (“Como un Bolero”) to a classically tinged tribute to Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona (“Contradanza”) to an original Latin take on John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps.” Along the way, he quotes from Cole Porter’s “Another Opening, Another Show,” The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and the Mexican folksong “La Cucaracha,” among others.
Leaning on Floyd
The Life and Times’ lead singer Allen Epley knows the term “alternative rock” conjures up negative images of post-grunge hackery. He’s also aware his band isn’t the first to call Pink Floyd a primary influence. But The Life and Times has an alt.rock flair and a lust for Floyd—and that’s just how it is.
Newbie lineup VoW, Get Your Radio, Carnivuncular (ex-Morning Wood) and DJ Sideswipe test the stage at Ralli’s Fourth Street Pub and Grill (21+) this Friday, July 25. The show’s free—besides your dignity, what have you got to lose? (LM)
That’s right, they said “muffin”
With a name like “Just Muffin Around,” there are a couple directions I could take this. I mean, come on. You use “muffin” as a verb, and you’re asking for it. But they’re just so sweet over there that I don’t think the owners realize how funny their moniker is. So I’ll be nice.
The deadline for the 2008 Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is Friday, July 18. Films can be of any length as long as they pertain to LGBT issues, and entry is only $15. Visit closetcinema.org for submission guidelines. Mail your entries to: Closet Cinema, 2008 Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, 1807 Gabaldon NW, Albuquerque, N.M. 87104.
The Albuquerque Theatre Guild shakes up the scene
If the Albuquerque Theatre Guild had a catchphrase, it'd be: “More butts in seats.” The adage best sums up the organization's top priority—plus, it's pithy and would look great on a T-shirt.
Neighbors sue the city over Albuquerque's bike stadium
Noise and dust: three days a week, 11 months a year.
That's the major contribution the city's BMX stadium makes to the Clayton Heights/Lomas Del Cielo neighborhood, say several residents. "There's been constant noise from construction, repairs, the crowd and the announcer," says Clayton Heights resident Rosina Roibal. "It's really annoying."
Silica in groundwater is not considered a contaminant by the EPA
Study looks into how eco-friendly jobs in the Duke City are—and could be
The “green is good” sentiment is sweeping Albuquerque, as local government enacts environmentally conscious business policy and large companies like Schott Solar continue to set up base. Still, the green sector’s size and potential have remained unclear.
Who are Tom Udall and Steve Pearce's top contributors? A new form of public transportation could make sense for Albuquerque. What's in the trunk? And a former top official at New Mexico State University is accused of ...
We talk news every day and found ourselves polarized over the lead photo in the Albuquerque Journal Thursday, July 10. We'll take on the topic of that startling image in the first "Thin Line Versus."
DATELINE: Russia— Channel Five News reports that last week a St. Petersburg woman accidentally killed her husband with a foldout couch. In response to his drunken state, the victim’s wife kicked a lever on the side of the couch (then opened into a bed) after the man refused to get up. The lever set off the internal mechanism that folds up the bed, and the man fell headfirst between the mattress and the back of the couch, according to local authorities. The woman had left the room after kicking the couch and so didn’t notice her husband’s state for three more hours. The St. Petersburg Emergency Services Ministry stated that a private rescue service removed the man's body, and the Channel Five website is running footage of the emergency workers sawing the couch apart. Workers report the man died instantly.
Questions on the resurrected “modern streetcar”
I’ve got a few questions about this resurrected $28 million-a-mile trolley—excuse me, “modern streetcar.”
Religion and power collide
“Every religious person has to take responsibility for the way in which their tradition promotes intolerance and hatred."
A gorgeous hell on Earth it is, too
Guillermo del Toro directed the first Hellboy? Really? That's the guy who did Pan's Labyrinth and The Orphanage, right?
In a time when the average American spends nearly as many hours on a computer as watching TV (if not more), it may be time to consider adding the PC into the definition of the idiot box. Luckily, TV networks have already thought of that, making more and more of their shows available for viewing online with limited commercial interruption [See last week's Idiot Box, "Hyper-Speed Syndication"]. But they don't just want you to watch “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” and “30 Rock” and be done with it; they want you to spend all of your Web time on their site. Really. They even craft clever little webgames to keep your browser tuned in. I give you TV-on-the-webgames:
The Week in Sloth
Riffing on this week's New Mexico Jazz Festival kick-off (see "Spotlight"), Santa Fe's Vintage Poster Gallery (901 Canyon, 505-577-7419) is mounting the largest exhibition of vintage Polish jazz concert posters in North America. The collection starts in the underground ’50s (jazz was condemned under Stalinist communism) and winds up through the European festivals of the ’90s; just about all of the posters are surreally eye-popping. The exhibition runs through Aug. 15 and opens with a reception this Saturday, July 19, from 2 to 5 p.m. Bert Dalton will perform, courtesy of Friends of Santa Fe Jazz. Regular gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. You can preview posters from the exhibition at mrposter.com; or add your own concert art to the Alibi Flyer on the Web database at alibi.com/FOTW.
New Orleans legend crowns the first week of the 2008 New Mexico Jazz Festival
When asked who wrote vocalist Irma Thomas’ 1963 hit “Ruler of My Heart,” later covered by Otis Redding and The Rolling Stones as “Pain in My Heart,” Thomas’ bassist answered, “You can’t turn a corner in New Orleans without bumping into Allen Toussaint.”
The third annual New Mexico Jazz Festival runs from July 17 through July 28.
The self-proclaimed mad Hungarian opens up ... a little
You may have seen him walking down Central, head down, guitar on his back, handlebar mustache and long, blackened fingernails. He's not much of a talker, though he's liable to take off his shirt on stage, revealing a thick mat of curly black chest hair. Swirling around in the local Mythos of Zoltán is the fact that he was banned from the Golden West for getting naked. "I've been known to showcase my hairy body parts and such at other shows," he says.
The Cell Theatre (700 First Street NW) opens up Sunday, July 20, for an all-ages wall-banger with Hit By A Bus, The Material, Zagadka and Amicus. Doors open at 7 p.m. $7 gets you in. (LM)
The reign of George W. Bush is nearing an end, so it’s time to cram in as many satires and parables as possible before he's ousted. Nth Degree Productions is doing its patriotic part by performing The Madness of King Georgie Bush, opening this Friday, July 18, for a two-week run at the VSA North Fourth Arts Center (4904 Fourth Street NW). This “misunderestimated” theatrical performance is sure to cause some congressional-sized laughs on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through July 27. Tickets are $10 (cash only, please) and reservations can be made by calling 702-7692. Hope it’s presidential!
Inception at SCA Contemporary Art
Though the area just south of I-40, where SCA Contemporary Art has laid roots, seems ready for a deluge of artist activity, for now it remains an industrial landscape, bustling with deliveries and large trucks. As you walk up the steps and through the door of SCA, you’re bombarded by the breadth of the gallery space. At nearly 6,000 square feet, the gallery has laid claim to being the largest contemporary art space in Albuquerque with aspirations to match. According to its website , “SCA is dedicated to facilitating space for experimental, innovative and contemporary art. ... Presenting exhibitions by emerging and established, local, national and international artists working with large scale sculpture, painting, print, drawing, photography, installation, sound and video art.”
The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie
Ugh. It’s too damn hot lately, and dry heat or not, the upward creeping of the mercury is doing a number on me. As I stood in front of the air conditioner with the vents directed up my shirt, I realized it was time to take action. What I needed was cooling from the inside-out. You know what I’m talking about: ice cream.
Until last week, wild fennel was a great frustration to us. The stuff sprouts all around us in the early summer months—glorious, fragrant fennel, but with no bulb worth braising. After much discussion and consternation, we realized the answer to our woe was staring us in the nose: fennel pollen.
It's unofficially the doldrums of summer, when things like job performance and precise maneuverings in time and space take backseat to the more important goals of porch-sitting and pool-seeking. And coming in a close third: cold beer-sipping. Traditionally, this activity should be done from an icy, sweating can.
Overeating fatty, salty, sugar-laden food is as American as apple pie
Imagine if McDonald’s picked up your bill any time you managed to eat 10 Big Macs in an hour or less. What if Wendy’s replaced its wimpy Baconator with an unstoppable meat-based assassin that could truly make your aorta explode—say, 20 strips of bacon instead of six, enough cheese slices to roof a house, and instead of two measly half-pound patties that look as emaciated as the Olsen twins, five pounds of the finest ground beef, with five pounds of fries on the side? Morgan Spurlock’s liver would seek immediate long-term asylum at the nearest vegan co-op.
Local establishments are coping with the sluggish economy, but some are struggling more than others
Is the floundering U.S. economy hurting local businesses? It depends who you ask. Business owners admit the economy has had some negative effects on them—their cost of living has increased along with everyone else's. But many say their sales haven't dropped. Others haven't been so fortunate.
Who will be in charge Nov. 4?
The state's Bureau of Elections is without two key officials as Election Day closes in.
Which Albuquerque business caught fire? Campaign contributions from a questionable source. Who's being named in a civil suit? And Los Alamos National Labs may be ...
Government-funded abstinence-only education may finally be on its way out. Twelve years after the national program started, only slightly more than half the states are still on board, according to a June 24 Associated Press article. The rest decided in recent years to wash their hands clean of the poorly performing initiative, with New Mexico jumping on the common-sense bandwagon at the end of 2007.
Drilling won't strike cash
Syndicated cartoonist Ben Sargent drew a grandmotherly elephant sitting at a gas station. Granny GOP reads a fairy tale to a fuming motorist: “Is it true?’ asks Sally Consumer. “The very day we open the offshore and Arctic leases, we can supply all our own oil, and gasoline will be a dollar a gallon again?” “Oh yes!” says the Magic Petroleum Fairy.
Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain are vying for the title of Change Agent in Chief because they recognize that Americans want the country to take a different direction from the course we’ve wobbled along on for eight pain-filled years. The public opinion polls clearly point out the despair the majority of voters feel over where we’re headed as a nation.
DATELINE: China—The most celebrated pig in China has added another chapter to his charmed life. The Chengdu Business Daily reports that Zhu Jianquiang (or “Pig Strong Will”), an animal that survived for more than five weeks on rainwater and charcoal while trapped in rubble caused by earthquakes in Sichuan in May, will be adopted by the Jianchuan Museum. The museum promises to care for the pig for the remainder of his natural life. In an official announcement, a Jianchuan Musuem curator stated that Zhu Jianquiang was “a symbol of Chinese endurance” and that an application would be filed with Guinness World Records officials. Said the pig’s owner, Wan Xingming: “When my wife fed him, two lines of tears dropped from his eyes.” Biographical movie proposals are reportedly in the works.
At least that's the title for now, according to Danny Solis, the man behind the reason Tuesday is the new Thursday. The Big Poetry Show kicks off on Tuesday, July 15, at One Up Lounge (301 Central NW) at 8 p.m., but this isn't your average slam. On top of the usual open mic and slam bouts, there'll also be music by Cultura Fuerte, a featured performance by poet/roustabout Buddy Ray McNiece, crazy big prizes (Solis says bikes, grills and trips to Las Vegas have been discussed—no joke) and the first-ever "Sake Slam"—an event designed by Solis to challenge poets to create poetry on the spot with music, in haiku form and other brain-expanding ways. After July 15, The Big Poetry Show (or whatever it's called in the future) will continue every Tuesday night at One Up, with a grand shindig once a month.
Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) and I Hate Hamlet at the Vortex
The study of Shakespeare is inevitable in theater. From literary studies to vast acting intensives, the Bard is with us—like it or not. This double-carbon bond has inspired many plays, including titles like The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and provides countless opportunities for playwrights to bring Shakespeare's classic world into modern theater. The Vortex Theatre presents two such plays in repertory, I Hate Hamlet and Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), throughout July. Both productions gaze into Shakespeare's world through a less-than-original lens, and both do it with a touch of humor.
Life Sucks by Jessica Abel and Gabe Soria, illustrated by Warren Pleece
Starting with this issue of the Alibi, you may notice a distinct decrease in the amount of work coming from our normally reliable film editor, Devin D. O'Leary. Mr. O'Leary has neither died nor given up caring about his job. For the next five weeks, he will be on an extended sabbatical. He has shipped off to the Far East to teach an intensive summer course on Hong Kong film to a group of students from New Mexico State University's Creative Media Institute. While in Hong Kong, this group will be meeting with members of the local film industry, visiting famed filming locations like the Shaw Brothers' studio and viewing as many Asian films as humanly possible. By August, these students will return to New Mexico ready to apply all they've seen and learned to our state's growing film industry. By August, Mr. O'Leary will return to writing snide comments about Adam Sandler movies. (DO’L)
The rocks aren’t bad
The success or failure of Journey to the Center of the Earth, New Line Cinema's $45 million, 3-D remake of Jules Verne's seminal adventure novel, boils down to one simple question: How do the rocks look? Seriously. Every single film focusing on caves, caverns and mysterious lands beneath the Earth's crust lives or dies on the realism of its rock-strewn sets. If they look like something off the first season of “Star Trek,” then the film is sunk before it begins. All the cutting-edge digital 3-D animation isn't going to make up for crappy papier-mâché rocks. So, how do the rocks in Journey to the Center of the Earth look? Eh, not bad. Considerably better than “Land of the Lost,” not as good as a visit to Carlsbad Caverns.
Yummy bowl of mush
At the risk of sounding unmanly, I have to admit I enjoy mushy weepers like And When Did You Last See Your Father?, at least every once in a while, in the privacy of my own home, blinds closed so the neighbors won’t judge me. Of course, not every mushy weeper is created equal. The Brits seem to have a knack for assembling this kind of irresistible schmaltz, and this oh-so-British movie nicely delivers all the prime elements.
Watching “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” until my eyes bleed
I sealed my fate with the click of a mouse. Once I started watching FX’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” I couldn’t stop.
If you've ever been in a band, chances are you've got 900 pressings of your first album stashed away in someone's closet. That was the finding on a recent RockSquawk thread, anyway. Almost all of our self-produced collections are collecting dust in inaccessible armpits of the city. Meanwhile, just as many of us would love to comb through someone else's pile. ( ... The wax is always blacker on the other side.) So, what would happen if we all unearthed our ancient jewel cases, cassettes and vinyl and traded them for stuff we actually want to hear?
What it took to get the Launchpad back on its feet
It was anything but a vacation, says Joe Anderson, operator of the Launchpad. "There were people that were making remarks like, Yeah, well, at least you'll have some time off," he says. Launchpad had its doors shut from the time of the neighboring Golden West's fire on Feb. 28 until happy hour on July 1. During those four months, he and some of his coworkers were working 10 times harder than usual, Anderson says, moving already-booked shows to other venues and overseeing renovations to the space.
Employees welcome back the Launchpad
When the Launchpad went out of commission more than four months ago, talent buyer Luis Mota had to scramble to reschedule shows.
New Orleans pianist Tom McDermott has to rank among the most fluid, inventive and technically robust pianists radiating the 88s today in the traditional syncopated musics of the Americas—from ragtime to choro to tango, from Jelly Roll Morton to James Booker—and he’s a beguiling composer besides. The eloquently understated Connie Jones may be the Crescent City’s most respected cornetist. Neither man knows how to play a false note. They combine beautifully on this collection of reinvigorated standards (“Tishomingo Blues”), McDermott originals (including the lovely solo piano reverie “Song of Bernadotte”), jazz from Freddy Chopin (title track) and more. Meanwhile, Parnassus Records has had the good sense to reissue McDermott’s 1996 solo effort, All the Keys & Then Some. This collection of 24 piano miniatures (one in each key) plus 14 portraits of friends for piano and synthesizer—by turns prankish, tender, audacious, bemused—showcases an adventurous and delightfully eccentric musical imagination.
The English are here
So what the hell is a gastropub? I hear the term at least once a day lately—I've even begun to use it myself. But I’m sure some of you would like a clear definition. In a nutshell, it describes British pubs that have taken it upon themselves to serve bar food that goes beyond hot wings and extreme nachos. What that translates to is restaurant-quality food in a place you’d normally reserve for picking up the drunkest tube top-wearing barfly who can still legally give consent. Something about the idea speaks to my very soul.