The 2011 Legislature has convened and is moving sluggishly forward. It’s the 60-day version this year, which usually means that more than the budget gets passed. This is the time when controversial policy issues take center stage.
New Mexico Gas Company remains mum on which big customers decreased use during the shortage
Which companies use the most gas in New Mexico? How much do they use? Is it as much as, say, Española? More? And when the New Mexico Gas Company cut gas to thousands of homes in early February, was industry the first to get shut off?
The whole village is invited to the ninth annual festival of all things klezmer
The following albums are good places to start investigating.
Is the background image high art or was it ripped from the licentious pages of a girly mag? Who cares—that jazz age typeface is the most beautiful and titillating thing on this flyer. On Thursday, Feb. 17, beginning at 9 p.m., DJs Dame Diana, Bea and The Host play music at the Livin’ On dance party, an evening of Brit pop, shoegaze, punk, glam, garage and anything else that’s cool. Free to those over 21 at Blackbird Buvette. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Random cuts from Dan Mayfield
Always spiffy, friendly and looking to enjoy Albuquerque to its fullest, Dan Mayfield is a true man about town. In addition to serving as editor-in-chief at Albuquerque The Magazine, Mayfield is a DJ—Dan the Doo-Wop Man—on Real Oldies 1600 AM. Hear his show on Sundays from noon to 1 p.m. We asked Mayfield to put his music library on shuffle—below are the first five cuts that appeared at random.
The Cine en Construcción films series starts up again on Thursday, Feb. 17 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (1701 Fourth Street SW) in the Bank of America Theatre. Kicking off the series of recent Latin American films is the 2003 Colombian film Sumas y Restas at 7 p.m. The film relates the story of a middle-class engineer who, plagued by money problems, falls in with a childhood-friend-turned-drug-smuggler. Like all films in the series, it’s in Spanish with English subtitles and admission is free.
Paul Giamatti impresses in story of a Jewish TV producer who tries to get life right
“Bar Karma” on Current TV
The Week in Sloth
Former Albuquerquean mixes the old with the new
Kai Margarida-Ramírez de Arellano was born in Puerto Rico but spent most of her formative years in New Mexico. Her art, in part, explores the clash between the two cultures, as well as family history and sexual politics.
Works from the 516 Arts exhibition
Brew a world of flavor from this versatile plant
Genetically engineered plants will affect organic dairy and meat
Duke City Repertory tries to tame Shakespeare’s Shrew
I know Shakespeare is, well, Shakespeare. Many diehard theater lovers consider him the best playwright to have ever grasped an ink-imbued instrument. Most actors and/or theater companies want to eventually try their iambic-pentameter-loving hands at one of the man’s plays. I realize this will put me on the blacklist of a number of theater patrons in town, but the question I always ask myself before seeing one of Shakespeare’s works on stage is: Why?
The Alibi’s eighth annual contest
Valentine’s Day is a phony holiday created by cruel corporations to sell diamonds, chocolates and cards by provoking our insecurities. Of course, to those who get all kinds of diamonds, chocolates and cards, it’s a pretty good day.
The Alibi tries to help everyone feel good, hence the eighth annual Valentine’s Day Card Contest.
Every year some state legislator from outside the Albuquerque/Santa Fe area proposes some bill to end the tax rebate program that’s fueling the film industry here in Albuquerque. You can’t really blame them. Few films are shot outside the Albuquerque/Santa Fe area. As a result, few of our smaller communities see much tangible economic impact. Nonetheless, every year, the proposal gets shot down.
Magician does a long, slow disappearing act in melancholy animated fable
There’s a major David and Goliath matchup in this year’s Oscar race. Wedged between multimillion-dollar, 3-D computer-animated films How to Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3 in the Animated Feature category is the humble, hand-illustrated French film The Illusionist. The film is director Sylvain Chomet’s long-awaited follow up to his 2003 charmer The Triplets of Belleville.
Super Bowl ads 2011
What did we learn from this year’s Super Bowl, class? That turnovers are key to the game. That Christina Aguilera doesn’t know the words to the national anthem. That the Black Eyed Peas sound like ass outside of a studio. That the economy has obviously affected major advertising.
The Week in Sloth
Valentine’s Day tends to make me feel barfy. Another thing that makes me want to vomit is people who hate on gay folks. It’s a big deal. ... I will now get off my soapbox and give an enthusiastic shout out to It’s Just Love. What’s Everyone So Scared Of? put on by the New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus. I’ve never seen a gay men’s chorus live, only on television being used as a weapon against hateful people on a Michael Moore program. It was delightful. The concert series, to have the chorus people tell it, is about how love is unifying. Gay love is no scarier that hetero love; it’s also just as scary. Come hear cabaret, jazz and pop standards out at the VSA North Fourth Art Center (4904 Fourth Street NW) on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 11 and 12, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 13, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20; $15 for students and seniors; $10 for kids ages 10-and-under. Show ’em some love.
The Tamarind Institute looks to the future
With the 50th anniversary of Tamarind Institute still glimmering in the rearview mirror, I sat down to talk with gallery director Arif Khan about fast forward: four for the future, which features pieces by Anna Hepler, Fay Ku, Mark Licari and Ethan Murrow. The show is a mix of work made by these artists during their time at Tamarind and in their own studio practices, ranging from high-definition film to inflatable sculptures, wall drawings and watercolors.
Noda’s Japanese Cuisine—I’m mourning the loss of one of the best Japanese restaurants in the state. Some friends and I were planning a night out and wanted to make reservations for Noda’s omakase dinner—a sumptuous, prix fixe feast prepared in a manner you’d expect from a four-star establishment. Noda’s inventive dishes included top-quality ingredients in distinctive presentations. I once had a dessert consisting of a sweet rice cake shaped like a fig, stuffed with sweet bean paste and partially wrapped with a fragrant, salty/sweet shiso leaf. Alas, Noda’s closed the doors at its Trinity Plaza location in Rio Rancho this winter.
A tale of two Saigons
The process by which restaurants get selected for this column involves equal parts strategy and serendipity. New restaurants, if they’re any good, are no-brainers for coverage. But sometimes a case can be made for older places, especially if the Alibi has never covered them.
As Christina Aguilera began to stumble through the national anthem before Sunday’s Super Bowl, nobody in the SCI stood up.
Praises were sung at the Monday, Feb. 7 Council meeting about the way city employees handled weather-related problems. Councilor Rey Garduño started the accolades, and others chimed in, thanking police officers, the fire department and street workers for keeping the city safe during some of the coldest February days in New Mexico’s recorded history.
Gov. Susana Martinez’ administration got started on the wrong foot.
She’s tried to create the image of a state in near-total collapse—one facing a “financial crisis” of historic proportions that requires a stern and steady leader. That diagnosis is wrong, and therefore the prescription (cut, slash, burn) is also sadly off the mark.
I have to chalk up her first state of the state address as a missed opportunity, a rehash of campaign stump speeches and standard-issue GOP sound bites. It was as short on substance as it was chilling—and not inspirational—in tone.
Dateline: China—China’s government is embarrassed after it was caught demonstrating its latest military hardware through old clips of the Tom Cruise film Top Gun. Footage supposedly showing the new J-10 fighter knocking another jet out of the sky with an air-to-air missile was broadcast by state-sponsored China Central Television on Jan. 23. Internet observers quickly noticed similarities between the training exercise footage and the ’80s action flick. The Wall Street Journal published a side-by-side comparison between the two videos online. Sure enough, the images are identical. The footage has since been removed from the CCTV website and network officials are refusing to comment.
New Mexico band releases noise freak-out En Lak Ech
Don’t limit it by calling it music, man. Jazz derangements, electronic debris and heaving melts of guitar are just part of it. What Sabertooth Cavity offers up with its first album, En Lak Ech, is a little more meta. Or a little more Dada. However you want to take it.
New Downtown music venue opens inside Hotel Andaluz
It bummed me out when La Posada de Albuquerque closed in 2005. The lobby bar was one of my favorite places in Albuquerque—it was an elegant, jazz-filled, brown-and-white respite from the Downtown riffraff, the flashing neons, the ill-fitting fashions and questionable taste in mechanical beats. Little did I know that four years later the 1939 building—New Mexico native Conrad Hilton’s fourth hotel, and first outside of Texas—would open anew, having been reinvented as green boutique lodging. Hotel Andaluz not only has 107 rooms and suites, but also a fine Mediterranean-inspired restaurant (Lucia), rooftop bar (Ibiza) and, as of the end of January, a live music venue called Casablanca.
Red Light Cameras, Ya Ya Boom and the 5 Star Motelles invite you to be theirs on Valentine’s eve eve—that’s Saturday, Feb. 12, starting at 9:30 p.m. The bake sale, love poem contest, handmade Valentine sale and rock show happen at Burt’s Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW) and admission is free. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Music reviews in 100 words or less
Random cuts from The Porter Draw’s Russell Pyle
Russell Pyle is a vocalist and guitar player in the lauded local bluegrass group The Porter Draw. The band will be your Valentine on Saturday, Feb. 12, when it performs at Blackbird Buvette. The show, called “An Arrow Through the Heart,” begins at 10 p.m. and is free. Below is a random peek into Pyle’s music library. “It made me realize how much punk and hardcore I have on my iPod,” he says.
Who will clean up the Gulton site?
Pollutants lurk under 10 acres of Albuquerque’s Southeast side, contaminating the groundwater. But no one knows how fast they’re moving toward the city's aquifer. The Four Hills drinking water well is within a mile of the site.
Jackson’s gym defends the Duke City’s title as a stronghold for tough talent
Life—be it human, plant or animal—doesn’t last long in this scrappy landscape without barbs, armor or a few aces in the hole. Maybe that’s why Albuquerque has perhaps the highest density of professional cage-fighters per capita. Officially called Mixed Martial Arts, the sport’s biggest stage is the Ultimate Fighting Championship. But its best fighters are not confined to the UFC: Smaller promotions like Strikeforce and Bellator have their share as well. Albuquerque is home to fighters in these and just about every other major promotion in the U.S.
Gov. Susana Martinez got flak in January when she issued an executive order halting two key environmental rules. One requires that New Mexico decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 3 percent every year. The other sets a number of infrastructure requirements for the state’s dairy industry, such as synthetic barriers in manure lagoons to prevent groundwater contamination.
The sun is shining, and the streets of Santa Fe are heavy with the smell of freshly smarmed lobbyists. Practitioners of the world’s oldest profession are dusting off their sequined handbags, and even John Arthur Smith is smiling.
Dateline: Italy—An unhappy bride has demanded a separation from her brand-new husband after he brought his mother along for the honeymoon. The woman, identified as Marianna C. of Rome, filed the petition in late January stating that the troubles began when her mother-in-law showed up at the airport just as the newlywed couple was about to jet off to Paris. According to Italy’s ANSA news agency, the 36-year-old bride also complained that, after the honeymoon, the mother-in-law spent the Christmas holidays with the couple, making it “impossible to establish a healthy conjugal relationship.”
Birds. They are among us. Everywhere. Unavoidable.
Something wicked this way comes
I went to Wicked expecting a musical brimming with kitschy costumes, catchy songs and maybe a heartfelt moment or two. That’s exactly what I got, but it wasn’t all. Wicked may be bright and sparkly and big on delivering a high moral message, but it’s also subversive, hilarious and crisp as a freshly minted dollar bill, all the way from the lights to the unbelievably executed, nearly operatic vocal work.
They don’t wanna be your beasts of burden
Breaking frozen ground on a spring garden
My baby mama spends about $5,000 a year on salad makings: lettuce, escarole, radicchio, kale, celery and parsley, as well as olive oil, cider vinegar, soy sauce and whatever we run out of from the root cellar. So far we’re good on garlic, almost out of carrots, out of onions, and our beets sucked last year, so she buys those, too.
Joan Nathan, famed Jewish cookbook author, brightens up a Duke City fundraiser
When I reach Joan Nathan at her home in D.C., I hear the rattling of pots and pans. She’s giving instructions to someone in the kitchen. “Is this a bad time?” I ask. “I can call later.” She tells me it’s fine—she’s just picking up after a fundraiser she hosted the previous evening with guest chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse. Nathan, a two-time James Beard award-winning cookbook author and New York Times food columnist, is well-known for her PBS series "Jewish Cooking in America with Joan Nathan." We settle down to discuss her latest opus, Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France (Knopf, 2010).
The Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice will present a film screening and discussion with producer Claude Marks and other guests on Friday, Feb. 4. Marks is the director of The Freedom Archives, a San Francisco-based organization dedicated to preserving and restoring audio and video recordings documenting social justice movements from the ’60s to the present. Marks’ organization produced the currently touring documentary Cointelpro 101. The film explores a little-known FBI program to track and possibly dismantle progressive, grassroots movements in America. The film will be shown at the Peace and Justice Center (202 Harvard SE) beginning at 6 p.m. A discussion with Marks and several special guests from the film follows the screening. Admission is $5 at the door. The screening is part of P&J’s weekend of events commemorating Leonard Peltier’s 35th year of incarceration.
Indie comedy/drama looks at post-college life in miniature
If Lena Dunham’s new indie dramedy Tiny Furniture doesn’t represent the voice of a new generation of filmmakers, then it will do nicely until the real thing comes along. It’s not that the twentysomething writer-director-actress does anything wildly different than those who came before her. Astute indie fans will certainly spot the DNA of predecessors Nicole Holofcener (Walking and Talking, Lovely & Amazing) and Lisa Cholodenko (High Art, The Kids are All Right) in the NYC filmmaker’s first feature. But Dunham’s debut is notable largely for what it does not do.
Mike Leigh brings the camera in close for another vivid character study
The criticism most often levied by casual viewers against non-Hollywood films—those of the indie, art house and foreign variety—is that they’re slow. There’s no action. Edits are infrequent, cameras are often static, people rarely get killed and explosions are all but absent. Given that, I must concede that not a damn thing of any consequence happens in Mike Leigh’s new film Another Year. Nonetheless, it’s a warm, inviting film that’s well deserving of its many year-end awards (one Oscar nod, two BAFTA nominations, four from the British Independent Film Awards and a slew of kudos from various film critics associations).
“Lizard Lick Towing” on truTV
If you’ve been a regular reader of “Week in Sloth” (below), you’ve probably run across a mention of the Wheel of Blue Collar Jobs That Don’t Have Reality Shows Yet. Basically, network programmers spin it every couple of weeks in order to find new series. That’s how they ended up giving reality shows to motorcycle builders, repo men, exterminators, tree trimmers, crab fishermen, swordfish fishermen, oil riggers, truck drivers, auctioneers, pawn brokers, snow-plow drivers and guys who buy abandoned storage lockers. The latest non-college-degree career field to land its own reality show? Tow-truck drivers.
The Week in Sloth
New Mexico musicians talk about the dishes that whet their appetites
Who knew that so many rock-and-rollers prefer their meals served with jazz? In honor of the Alibi’s Winter Dining Guide, I asked a handful of musicians to answer a survey in which they’d discuss their preferred foods and dining situations. Their delicious answers lie below.
At one point in time, the Alibi was so cool that it had members of Detroit power pop band The Romantics taking showers at its offices. We presented stages that featured one-of-a-kind Brian Jonestown Massacre psychedelic freak-outs. Hometown (and national) darling The Shins even performed for us in the middle of Fourth Street. Those were the days of the Crawls when scores of musicians would descend on Downtown and turn the district into the live music mecca it ought to be every weekend.
Anna Reser reveals new drawings and objects on Friday, Feb. 4, at Small Engine (Window) Space, located at 1413 Fourth Street SW in Barelas. Supplemental entertainment at the 7 p.m. reception will be provided by Dirty Pandas, Baron Dwyer, CanyonLands and others. Visit annafeather.tumblr.com to find out more about the artist. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Guitarist Ryan Sollee of The Builders and the Butchers
Ryan Sollee is a guitar player and the lead vocalist in Portland Americana band The Builders and the Butchers. On Monday, Feb. 7, the band plays at Low Spirits with Murder By Death and Damion Suomi & the Minor Prophets. From the road, by way of a BlackBerry, Sollee gave us a randomly selected peek into his music library.