Finally, children’s theater that doesn’t induce a diabetic coma
By Christie Chisholm
Children’s theater gets a bad rap. It’s generally dismissed as saccharine and slightly awkward pap that serves little purpose beyond giving parents an opportunity to fawn over their terrified kids. In some instances, that is exactly the case.
Rhetoric in this country has reached a fever pitch. Folks are angry, and they’re scared because money’s tight. That means candidates and campaign topics are as ugly as they’ve ever been. Maybe you started muting the commercials, or maybe you’re house-training your puppy atop the mailers. Who needs the extra stress, right?
Halloween on a Sunday is perfect. You can go to as many parties as you want on Friday and Saturday night and still have time to nurse your hangover on Sunday afternoon before the trick-or-treaters start ringing your doorbell. The timing also affords you the luxury of wallowing on the couch all day watching classic horror movies and other seasonal treats. So what if you eat up all those fun-size Snickers before the kids in costumes show up? Just turn off the porch light and keep watching TV.
We all know how fictional vampires attack their helpless prey, thanks to the deluge of vampires as depicted by such writers as Stephenie Meyer, Anne Rice, Stephen King and countless others. From “True Blood” to Twilight, vampires have never been hotter—nor more popular. Modern ideas of what vampires are, what they do and how they look can be traced back to Irish writer Bram Stoker, author of Dracula (1897).
Dateline: India—A group of sacrificial goats turned the tables on the last day of the 10-day, nine-night Navratri festival, triggering a stampede that killed 10 people inside a packed temple. “More than 45,000 devotees had thronged the temple at Tildiha village under Sambhuganj Police Station area for offering prayers and sacrificing goats when the stampede occurred,” the director general of police told the Bangalore Mirror. “As the worshippers lined up before the butcher, a scuffle broke out and some people were trampled,” Banka district spokesperson Gupdeshwar Kumar admitted. “People were vying with each other to get their goats sacrificed first, and they had a verbal duel with the butcher.” Four women and six men died in the ensuing stampede. Another 11 were injured, three of them critically. Despite the deaths, the district spokesperson said that over 40,000 goats were sacrificed at the temple that day in honor of the Goddess Durga.
Electronic music has come a long way since Thaddeus Cahill began work on an electromechanical instrument, the Telharmonium, in 1898. Ferruccio Busoni in 1907 predicted electrical impulses as the basis for modern music. Luigi Russolo gave noise concerts as early as 1914. One can only imagine the grave-spinning disappointment of these visionaries when the synthesized bleats of disco or the now naïve sounds of such LPs as 1968’s Switched On Bach came about.
The Tierney Sutton Band finds the mystic in the Great American Songbook
By Mel Minter
Gender has nothing to do with cojones. Anybody can have them. Two-time Grammy-nominated vocalist Tierney Sutton has ’em. That’s how she explains her performance of “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” the opening track of her latest, excellent recording, Desire.
On Friday local bluegrass favorite The Saltine Ramblers will express its love for drug-addled hippies and extended guitar solos in a Halloween tribute set as the Grateful Dead. Also appearing is Zoë Fitzgerald, the time-travelling transvestite—glam rock alter ego of Santa Fe musician Joe West. Los Angeles old-time band Triple Chicken Foot opens (as itself, we assume). The 21-and-over show starts at 9 p.m. and unfolds at the Moonlight Lounge (120 Central SW). Artwork by Christoph Knerr. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Random tracks from Diego E. Montoya, fearless Alibi intern
Diego E. Montoya is a UNM student and Alibi editorial intern. He has a strong affinity for New Mexican music, which he exhibits on some days with sharp boots and a cowboy hat. However, he’s also a fan of the punk rock and has put an interesting spin on this week’s column—all random selections from a Warped Tour playlist. Below you’ll find no accordions, no polka beats and no mustaches.
It’s hard to know where to begin—David Tanis, world-class chef; David Tanis, author; David Tanis, will ’o the wisp. In fact, you can meet all three—taste his menu, read his book and watch him wander into the sunset when he continues his nationwide book tour to promote his new Heart of theArtichoke and other Kitchen Journeys (Artisan).
Rarely does a restaurant’s name describe its most salient qualities as succinctly as Thai Vegan. Ironically, while the name may turn away some rabid omnivores, many of those may not have even noticed the lack of animal product if they hadn’t been tipped off. More of them still would probably be surprised by how much they like it.
A longtime journalist discusses Obama and the 2010 elections
By Marisa Demarco
Gwen Ifill is not paying attention to the Senate race in Delaware, though tea party favorite Christine O'Donnell hits national headlines most days. And Ifill is not so interested in New York's gubernatorial race, where GOP candidate Carl Paladino's gaffes are the talk of the town. "Even though they make interesting cable news conversation, neither of the out-there candidates in those races seems to have a chance of winning," she says. "I'm more interested in what the outcomes are going to be."
There isn’t a true category of fall beers, as there is for winter warmers. But fall is the season when two popular styles, Märzen (commonly known as Octoberfest in the U.S.) and pumpkin are released. New Mexico gets imported versions of most of the beers served at Germany’s legendary Oktoberfest. Locally, Santa Fe Brewing has an Octoberfest available in cans, and Turtle Mountain has an excellent version available at their pub. Pumpkin beer choices are limited in the Albuquerque area as far as bottled offerings. I recommend the pumpkin releases from Marble, Hallenbrick and Chama River, which should be available in the next week. Chama will also debut a new version of theirs, dubbed “Punkin Drublic.”
A few dozen people spoke out at the Monday, Oct. 18 Council meeting on two main issues: feeding the hungry and nukes. The Council did not reply to the citizens concerned about efforts to feed some of Albuquerque’s homeless population. But councilors commented that the city will not speak against the weapons industry, which supplies lots of jobs.
Bruce Trigg is retiring from the state's Department of Health this year. The soft-spoken, scholarly and intensely committed public health physician has one last policy campaign he’s waging. It's a sort of farewell gift to us. He wants to wake New Mexico up to the silent plague that for at least 20 years has been mowing down hundreds of our young people. It kills them in the prime of their lives—and incredibly, draws scarcely any attention.
Dateline: Pennsylvania—A teenager who had just passed his driving test celebrated by crashing a car into a state driver’s license center. Bridgeville police Sgt. Brian Halbleib told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the accident happened when the unnamed teen pulled into the parking lot of the center to drop off the man who had administered the test. At least three people were injured, but officials said the injuries were not serious. The teen told officers he thought the car was in park, but it was not.
Aux Dog is a good little theater. It has heart, and the productions that come out of it are generally well-conceived and entertaining. Many of its efforts are made by people who are new to the industry, but even though their greenness is noticeable, there’s a zest or charisma that rises above, making its shows nice, solid fun. Coming Attractions is, sadly, not one of those shows.
Ladies and gents, it’s time for the 22nd annual Equestrian Cup Wine & Food Tasting. Hosted by Albuquerque’s Active 20–30 Club and Wells Fargo bank, this gala event will benefit the Children’s Safe House (run by All Faiths Receiving Home) and other children’s charities. In keeping with the spirit of the national Active 20–30 Club, the Albuquerque chapter is dedicated to community service, particularly to provide financial and in-kind assistance to kids. Jason Deshayes, four-year member and president of the Albuquerque club for the past two years, tells me that this event is the highlight of the club’s activities and that it engages a broad cross-section of Duke City businesses.
Albuquerque doesn’t have any professional sports teams. And while the Duke City Derby, los Lobos and the mighty Isotopes give us a strong tradition of amateur action, what few pro athletes we have tend to be cage fighters. Maybe we should call it “Put Up Your Dukes City.” But since there aren’t major pro Mixed Martial Arts competitions held here, our only public forum is to gather at sports bars and cheer the hometown fighters. This week’s column is the second installment of an occasional series on the best Albuquerque sports bars in which to watch televised hand-to-hand combat. The first installment in the series, in April, covered the Fox and Hound. The third installment, probably sometime next year, is a secret because I’m still actively researching and don’t want to tip anyone off. But if you want to suggest a sports bar in which to watch MMA, please do. Just remember it has to serve good food.
I prefer the term “Halloween Month,” because one day just isn’t enough to cover all the cool things you can and should be doing this time of year. So why not get started this weekend with the Halloween Spookshow and Monster Rally? Burning Paradise Video is sponsoring this event as a fundraiser for the upcoming 2010 TromaDance New Mexico Film Festival. For two nights only, Oct. 22 and 23, Guild Cinema in Nob Hill will screen Skeleton Farm’s Halloween Horrorshow. This virtual spook-house ride comes to us from the mad slice-and-splicers at Skeleton Farm, Albuquerque’s premiere found footage alchemists. This feature-length film is a madcap tour through hundreds of classic (and not-so-classic) horror film clips. Brain-melting shock, terror and outright confusion are sure to ensue. The film is only playing Friday and Saturday at 11 p.m., so get your seats early. And to make this an even cooler event, Burning Paradise is sponsoring a full-on monster rally on Friday night. What’s a monster rally? Well, it’s just like a zombie crawl, except it doesn’t discriminate against other forms of monstrosity. Throw on your best creature outfit and meet up on the southeast corner of UNM’s Johnson Field starting at 10 p.m.
Clint Eastwood’s new film isn’t dead, just resting
By Devin D. O’Leary
Who would have thought that, after decades (and decades) as Hollywood’s premier tough guy, Clint Eastwood would become such a stodgy formalist as a filmmaker? Not to insult his oeuvre or anything. Invictus, Changeling, Letters from Iwo Jima, Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, The Bridges of Madison County: They’re all classy pieces of old-school Hollywood cinema. Eastwood learned his lessons working for some of the finest directors in the business, and he knows how to construct a film with the best of them. But he seems more inclined toward stoic “Masterpiece Theatre”-inspired melodramas than anything with a discernible pulse.
With sitcoms such as the unsung “My Name Is Earl” and the recently added “Raising Hope” under his belt, it’s time to name writer/producer/creator Greg Garcia the Patron Saint of White Trash. That’s not an insult, mind you. Nobody’s done as much to champion America’s questionably tasteful lower middle class since Roseanne Barr.
Squash Blossom Boys’ debut album is sneaking up on you
By Summer Olsson
A pioneering band in Albuquerque’s Americana scene, the Squash Blossom Boys brings expert musicianship and rollicking energy to standard and original tunes. The squashies have played in various locales—bars, growers’ markets, on tour earlier this year opening for the Meat Puppets, maybe even at your backyard barbecue—and the band’s popularity is on a steady upward climb. But even fans may not know the winding path these bluegrass men have traveled.
Producer John Sandlin gives us the lowdown on the low-down sounds of his Django Festival
By Mel Minter
The New Mexico Django Festival returns to Albuquerque in its fourth, nearly annual edition after a layoff in 2009 in deference to the imploded economy. Producer John Sandlin, perhaps best known hereabouts as the rakishly handsome, devilishly talented guitarist for Le Chat Lunatique, has once again put together a stellar lineup, including up-and-coming international acts as well as local favorites like Zoltan Orkestar, The Hot Club of Santa Fe and Django Rhythm Meat Grinder. For four days, they’ll all pay homage to the Belgian whiz-kid guitarist Django Reinhardt, who put a unique gypsy spin on swing.
Steve Eiland—of Beefcake in Chains notoriety—and his betrothed observe their upcoming nuptials at Cap’n Creepy’s Halloween Weddin’ Party. Music is to be provided by Icky and the Yuks, The Gracchi, Dead On Point Five and None of the Above. Beefcake in Chains will also stage a mini-reunion. The free, 21-and-over show/party happens at the Launchpad (618 Central SW) beginning at 9 p.m. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Le Chat Lunatique vocalist and violinist Muni Kulasing has never heard most of these songs
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Muni Kulasinghe is the talented vocalist and violinist for Le Chat Lunatique. He’s also a friendly, multilingual gentleman who’s always armed with a smile, a wink and maybe a dirty joke. This weekend his gypsy jazz band plays local host to the New Mexico Django Festival. In honor of the event, Kulasinghe was asked to provide shuffled tracks from his music library. “I don’t have an MP3 player, nor an iPod; only my computer, which means the music I happened upon is not necessarily music I have listened to much, if ever,” he explains. “As it turned out, I was wholly unprepared for what spouted forth.”
On Wednesday, I walked into The Normal Gallery in Barelas to view Scott Williams’ installation With Great Abandon. “Man,” I said with a good deal of exasperation. “That is some weird shit right there.” Williams laughed and said, “That’s the reaction I like.” Scott has placed two space coyotes, yes, space coyotes, in the middle of the gallery. Two stuffed coyote heads have been retrofitted to Williams’ handcrafted astronaut bodies. They’re shaking hands, but eyeing each other suspiciously. I don’t know if there is any way to make stuffed coyote heads eye one another suspiciously or if they do that naturally. Either way, they made my day. Scott said he’s making a statement on the fear people have that humanity won’t survive. He looks at the coyote as a symbol of survival; they flourish even when other species are in decline. Scott is holding out hope for people. Personally, I think we’re doomed, but that’s why Scott is an artist and I’m a writer. You must go see these coyotes. Come between 1 and 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 24, or by appointment. Scott can be reached at 908-5526. The gallery is located at 1514 Fourth Street SW. They have a cat.
There's a line in Thomas Hine'sThe Great Funk: "Every part of American culture, from its leaders to its cars and even its linoleum, seemed to promise expansiveness and progress, but nothing had turned out as advertised. By 1975 the future had turned from a promise to a shock."
Dateline: India—Hampered by setbacks and budget shortfalls, the Indian government has stepped up its security forces during this month’s Commonwealth Games in an attempt to appear safe and secure under the glare of the international spotlight. In addition to fending off potential terrorist attacks with surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft guns spread throughout New Delhi, 100,000 security guards have been drafted into service. As if that weren’t enough, 38 monkeys have been hired to keep an eye out for any simian wrongdoers. Earlier this month, India’s NDTV showed off members of an elite squad of fierce, black-faced Hanuman langurs. The highly trained monkey guards—named after a Hindu deity—have taken up positions around two stadiums in the city, defending athletes and spectators from potential attacks by smaller, wild monkeys. Eric Randolph, a correspondent for The National, an Abu Dhabi newspaper, explained to readers that, “the new contingent of langurs is expected to focus on the swimming complex, seen as a likely target for primate shenanigans.” Wild monkey attacks are not uncommon in New Delhi. The city’s deputy mayor died after a monkey attack in 2007.
The Vintage Poster Gallery in Santa Fe is opening an exhibit called Reel Power: Great Vintage Film Posters featuring more than 300 rare film posters from The Rosenberg Collection. The show opens with a reception this Friday, Oct. 15, from 5 to 7 p.m. The exhibit will run through Jan. 30, 2011, so you’ve got plenty of time to get up there and check it out. Vintage Poster Gallery is at 901 Canyon Road, Santa Fe.
Amiable action comedy proves old people can still kick ass
By Devin D. O’Leary
Lethal Weapon may not have been the first film to coin the phrase, “I’m too old for this shit!” But since then, every film wishing to jokingly acknowledge the fact that its action star is a day or two past his prime has tipped a hat in the direction of Danny Glover and company. The phrase—for better or worse—has become a pop cultural trope. Now comes Red, which may very well be the ne plus ultrain “I’m getting too old for this shit!” action cinema.
TV’s deadpool seems particularly shallow this season. The fall 2010 TV season has barely started and already we’ve got two major casualties. FOX’s polygamist Texas con man drama “Lone Star” and ABC’s high-school-plus-10-years faux-documentary drama “My Generation” were both canceled last week after only two airings apiece.
For the past few months, I’ve been snooping around the Nob Hill corner of Central and Amherst, formerly the home of Natural Sound. Small signs are posted in the windows of the empty space. “StreetFood Asia,” the posters announce, and along the bottom, “dim sum, satay, sushi, noodles”—all the enticement I need to drive my curiosity to a fever pitch. But it took weeks of sleuthing before I lucked into a connection in the U.K., who kindly e-mailed the new proprietors of StreetFood Asia. I was able to finally meet Tai Tok, Paula Frahm and Miguel Santana.
Which is better: having the best location and the worst tamales, or the best tamales and the worst location? Only soul-free capitalists would choose the former, while a soulful stream of Burqueños regularly choose the tamales at El Modelo.
Professional success is a matter of consequence to anyone who takes his or her job seriously, and Frankie O'Malley is no exception. He wants his band, The Safes, to make it big. What comparable level of success is he ultimately working toward? “Oh, for me, The Beatles,” says the guitarist, using the faintest of pauses between question and answer. “I want to be the biggest band ever.” O'Malley makes his aspirations sound a bit more general: “I believe wholeheartedly that we can cross over into the mainstream. Without a doubt.”
Long before the local clubs would demean themselves by booking punk bands (and before “punk” became a genre and not an outlook), Albuquerque had a seething, seamy musical underbelly of garage bands that actually gigged in garages, cellars and even frat houses. These shows were sometimes promoted by hand-scrawled flyers but mostly by word of mouth. There was a DIY record label (Resin). There was a record store that sold Resin releases (Bow Wow). And there were bagels, lots of bagels, and shows in a Nob Hill basement near sweltering ovens (Fred’s Bread & Bagel). There was also a man who counted a cast of characters among his friends, acted as their attorney and confidant, and hauled in mountains of crawfish from the Gulf for band parties. This Friday, friends of New Orleans native Gary Wayne Nelson (who is seriously ill) will be on deck at the Launchpad to return his many favors with a benefit show.
More and more, our remote, wild Western burg is proving to be an oasis of music and art that explores new frontiers. Nay, you say? Here’s evidence: Albuquerque Experimental is a two-day festival composed of 25 performances. The lineup is largely local with notable out-of-town troubadours sprinkled throughout (NYC psych pioneer Silver Apples; John Dieterich of Deerhoof, who’s performing with New Mexico’s own Raven Chacon). This event, masterminded by KUNM music host Peter Mezensky, will take place at The Kosmos (1715 Fifth Street NW) on Friday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. and on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 3 p.m. Two-day passes go for $20, while single passes are $10 on Friday and $15 on Saturday. For a full lineup and more information, go to albuquerqueexperimental.com. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Random selections from the collection of I is for Ida’s Harry Brown
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Harry Brown is a local musician and scooter entrepreneur (downtownscooternm.com). On Monday, Oct. 18, you can find his band I is for Ida performing for the first time in more than a year. Armed with new songs, the band plays in the middle of a tangy Portlander sandwich made of psychedelic disco act Lookbook and gloomy post-punker headliner The Prids. The show happens at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) beginning at 9 p.m. A mere five ducat admission will be granted only to those of legal drinking age. Below lies a random smattering of Brown collection tracks that might provide some sonic foreshadowing for Monday’s show.
A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline brings the music of a country master to Rodey Theatre
By Christie Chisholm
A Closer Walk with Patsy Clineis more a concert than a piece of theater. Its nearly two-hour run time (intermission included) consists almost entirely of songs by the titular singer, performed by Laurie Finnegan. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s very good. A Closer Walk is a well-polished piece suited for a city larger than ours; it will blow the dust off your sense of nostalgia and leave you with a bittersweet glow.
Independently owned book stores tend to be darker and more cavernous than their chain store counterparts. They are a source for used books rather than new ones, places to dig through stacks, search for that used copy of Martian Time-Slip by Philip K. Dick or hunt for an Edward Bunker crime novel. They lean toward the eccentric titles that can be hard to find outside of the Internet but, unlike their electronic counterpart, don’t rob you of the joy that accompanies scoring a Richard Yates book after scouring the shelves. It’s easy to click on a PayPal button; it’s much harder to embark on a used bookstore rampage. (Those can last for days. Sweat beads form on the temples. The eyes strain.)