Fighting wildfires in New Mexico
Myth of Deadly Prairie Dogs
Old Town is back with another round of Cultural Sunsets summer programming, which brings culturally edifying entertainment to the plaza most Thursdays through early October. Featuring colorful costumes, elaborate and often ancient choreography, and groups that are committed to fostering traditions, Cultural Sunsets gives patrons a chance to experience customs that are likely new to them. This Thursday, May 26, you can see performances from the New Mexico branch of Miyagi Ryu Nosho Kai school of Okinawan cultural dance and music. The kids can learn to make Japanese paper dolls too, in a “make and take” workshop. This free event is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Keep tabs on upcoming Cultural Sunsets by calling 311.
Rogue road trip inspires 100-painting retrospective
Sounds like the same old story: Yet another weary traveler, lured into the sandy valley of the Sandias, finds it impossible to leave. However, artist and Small Engine Gallery co-operator Lucas Hussack's new series, New Mexico in Five Years in a Hundred Pieces, explores how the land of entrapment provided the perfect backdrop for some of the most colorful experiences of his life.
N4th unveils variety at sixth annual contemporary dance festival
I’m tagging along with Michael Foltz and Marissa Evans visiting feed suppliers in the North and South Valleys. Today’s the day to populate the backyard coop Foltz has been building for the past few months using mostly recycled wood and fittings. It’s a cozy roost to house seven or eight birds, with a run protected by chicken wire. A nice little goat-fence-style gate opens into the small enclosure.
The Alibi's new local-centric mandate for food criticism
This Friday was to mark the return of the Screenwriting Conference in Santa Fe. Unfortunately, “due to circumstances beyond our control” the organizers have announced that this year’s conference has been canceled. It would have been the 13th annual outing, which traditionally attracts professional writers, agents and producers from around the county to provide five days’ worth of intensive instruction. The cancellation—announced with a brief note on the conference’s website—was an abrupt, eleventh-hour development. Here’s hoping the SCSFe gets back on its feet for next year.
An interview with comic book idol Stan Lee
Take a glance at any movie theater marquee and you’ll realize it’s the summer of superheroes. And who do we have to thank? We can think of no greater person to blame than that most titanic champion of men in capes and women in tights—writer, editor, producer, publisher and former president of Marvel Comics, Stan “The Man” Lee. The characters he created—from Spider-Man to the Fantastic Four to The Avengers—have been pop cultural icons for more than 40 marvelous years.
Filmmaker buys into the idea of selling out
Back in 1986, the British cyberpunk band Sigue Sigue Sputnik sold off advertising space between tracks on their debut album Flaunt It. Among the companies enshrined there: L’Oréal and i-D magazine. It was a self-conscious joke on the part of the band, spoofing both music industry commercialization and the group’s own Blade Runner-inspired vision of a corporate-controlled future.
“Franklin & Bash” on TNT
Since time immemorial (or “the 1950s,” depending on how far back your memory actually reaches), the holy trinity of TV show characters has been composed of cops, doctors and lawyers. Those three occupations have formed the backbone of every television network’s prime-time schedule since the creation of the cathode ray. Police officers, medical professionals and public defenders are always with us. The only variation on the theme seems to be: serious or wacky? Are these dramatic cops (“Adam-12”) or kooky cops (“Barney Miller”)? Intense docs (“ER”) or quirky docs (“Scrubs”)? Conscientious lawyers (“Perry Mason”) or nutty lawyers (“Ally McBeal”)?
The Week in Sloth
Guitar Wolf returns to planet U.S.A. on the Hoochie Coochie Space Men Tour
Hearing Japan’s take on American pop music is like looking into a fun house mirror—but, like the mirror of Snow White’s wicked queen, the view reveals naked truth. Style and convention is swallowed whole and digested in roiling gastric juices. Magnified, amplified and disgorged in rainbow colors, its vital essence is not only intact but accentuated. Consider the hyper-pop of Puffy AmiYumi, the agitated and beautiful noise of Melt Banana, or the devastating wail of the unrestrained KING BROTHERS.
Camp and concerts feature African music and dance
If you’re excited by the idea of eight straight days of dancing, singing, drumming and learning about African culture with renowned teachers from all over the continent, read on. This week marks the beginning of Camp Mabina and the first of two big concerts surrounding the camp’s many workshops.
Random tracks from filmmaker Marie-Michele Jasmin-Belisle
Marie-Michele Jasmin-Belisle is a French Canadian filmmaker and owner of 8H51 Art Design Nouveau Cinema. When she’s not traveling and working around the world, she resides in Albuquerque. A music fan with eclectic taste, we ask the auteur behind Le Chat Lunatique’s upcoming first music video to share five random tracks.
Don’t let the impending work week get you down. On Sundays from 4 to 11 p.m. DJs Flo-Fader, Nicolatron, OHM, NTOX and Diamond Tip keep the spirit of the boogie alive with Weeksend at the Albuquerque Press Club (201 Highland Park Circle SE). This Sunday will feature grilled foodstuffs in exchange for cash, plus games including a water balloon fight (weather permitting). All ages are allowed until 9 p.m. The Press Club, being a private establishment, means all guests must sign in, obey the club’s rules and do a dance. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
The Blue Hornets suit up for a ska-tastic EP release party
Urban farmers take living well into their own hands
A colony of 80,000 bees holds enough sting to kill you—actually, it holds enough to kill about 80 of you. But sitting a few feet away from a hive that’s nearly as tall as she is, Chantal Foster is unfazed as yellow-and-black honeybees whiz by on a pollen-fueled highway. Maybe it’s because, with rare exception, the potentially deadly flying insects seem to have no interest in her. The bees are on a mission, and it’s about getting frisky with flowers, not ferocious with humans.
How a girl, a guy and the guy’s father found happiness in roller derby
People packed the Council chambers in support of libraries, animals and blue-collar city workers. The Monday, May 16 meeting centered around passing a budget. As a result, an ideological crack split the nonpartisan Council down party lines. Democrat Councilor Debbie O’Malley, who's nearing the end of her second term, walked out of the meeting just before the budget vote. Other Democrat councilors expressed disgust and said Republican councilors highjacked the budget.
The Truth Behind the Loretto Chapel Staircase
This Friday, May 20, the CCA Cinematheque and FanFare (the Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus’ community engagement committee), will host a benefit screening of The Wizard of Oz. The film will be subtitled, allowing audience members to sing along, karaoke-style. Costumes are encouraged. Tickets are $30 and proceeds will go to benefit the Music Education Mentoring program for Santa Fe Public Schools. The event takes place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the CCA Cinematheque (1050 Old Pecos Trail). Reservations are strongly encouraged. You can reserve a seat by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the CCA box office at (505) 982-1338.
The 2011 New Mexico Filmmakers Showcase
Starting Thursday night, the New Mexico Film Office will set up shop at the Guild Cinema to produce the seventh annual New Mexico Filmmakers Showcase. The event began in 2005 with an ambitious week-long program spotlighting more than 40 hours’ worth of homegrown shorts, features, films and videos. Since then, the showcase has evolved into a somewhat more manageable four-day affair. It is still, however, a nonjuried, first-come, first-served opportunity for up-and-coming New Mexico filmmakers to get their work screened in the public eye.
Nets nix high-profile shows before they air
In the television biz, the third week of May is traditionally known as “upfront season.” It’s the time of year when broadcast networks try to sell their upcoming fall seasons to advertisers. It’s those advertising rates that determine how much the networks will make next season. No wonder then that ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and The CW try and put their best foot forward. Their second best foot? That gets swept under the rug and is never spoken of again.
The Week in Sloth
Music in the movies and the movies on music
When summer hits and you’re ready to lounge before the TV and under the swamp cooler, consult my biased list—in no particular order except the order I like—of the best movies about music and show business.
Tenderizor is a thrash noise band from Albuquerque. The five-piece just released its first record, Touch The Sword, and on Monday, May 23, performs at The Kosmos (1715 Fifth Street NW) with Japanese psychedelic rock band / cult Acid Mothers Temple. Vanquishing the format rules of Song Roulette, Tenderizor—collectively—offers random tracks it was jamming on cassette in the van on a West Coast Tour(oar) this spring.
For its “last big headlining show,” CanyonLands will be offering a free digital download of its album A Frothing of the Mind. The performance—to which admission is also free—happens at Burt’s Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW) on Saturday, May 21. Cloud Lantern and The Gatherers provide opening performances beginning around 10 p.m. We assume this squiggly poster art was also created at no cost. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
How do you get published? What’s a query letter? How do you get an agent or a manager? Should you get an agent or a manager? All these questions and more will be answered for writers—both beginning and experienced—during the ninth annual Latino Writers’ Conference, held at the National Hispanic Cultural Center May 19 through 21. Internationally successful authors, editors and agents will present workshops and lectures. Participants are guaranteed one-on-one meeting time with the professionals. “The mission of the conference is to encourage Latinos to publish their work,” says Carlos Vásquez, the history and literary arts director at NHCC, “and to bring to them other Latino writers that are now successful.”
Classy, glassy ladies star in whodunit art history mystery
A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls focuses not only on Driscoll’s works themselves, but on the historical context of her life and the women's glass department (also known as the Tiffany Girls) that constructed the lamps.
A theatrical exploration of living with HIV/AIDS
Former musicians of the NMSO announce the New Mexico Philharmonic
Even before the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra filed for bankruptcy on May 10, its musicians were looking ahead and making plans. They resolved to keep orchestra music alive in New Mexico. Shortly after the closing of NMSO was announced, its former musicians made an announcement of their own: the formation of the New Mexico Philharmonic.
When the roosters get tough, the tough make coq au vin
Coq au vin, literally “rooster in wine,” is a recipe that can be simple or complex. My version is geared toward those starting with a big, tough old rooster in the yard, but it works with any chicken. An old hen would also do the trick, but I don't kill my hens. So that leaves the roosters, the meaner the better.
What's guilt-free, sweet (but not too sweet) and guaranteed to improve your mood? I went to Tim's Place for the answer—a patented "Tim hug." You can meet Tim and enjoy a calorie-free hug at least five days a week.
This land is our land
Where the water is
Stories as old as the hills
Give thanks for these spiritual sites
How the West was fun
Mostly stranger than fiction
Absolutely worth pulling over for
Things that make you go ... Meh
Rest in peace, famous dead Americans
Q: What’s better than basking in the sunshine, sipping a cool drink and snacking on a delicious picnic lunch with good company?
An interview with Mogwai frontman Stuart Braithwaite
Glasgow's Mogwai has been hypnotizing its audiences with elaborate, spaced-out, guitar-driven dirges since the mid-'90s. This week, on tour in support of its wryly titled 2011 Sub Pop release Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, the cosmic post rock band pays New Mexico a visit. Over the phone, the band's thickly accented frontman Stuart Braithwaite and I discussed recording techniques, favorite concert locales and distortion pedals.
Shoulder Voices on Shoulder Voices
Shoulder Voices is just that. An angel on one side, a devil on the other, murmuring in your ear. And it’s difficult to tell which is offering temptation and which is advising caution.
The Bricklight Underground Merchants' Association is getting a jump on the season by presenting a daylong block party on Friday, May 13. The theme, of course, is “13”—13 percent off at Cellar Door Gifts & Gallery and Free Radicals Clothes & Crap. Thirteen bucks will get you some ink from All Is One Tattoo or a dress from Frock Star Vintage. Look for deals at Bricklight Dive, Cheba Hut and psychic Mendy Lou. Music includes Jakob Insane, Vertigo Venus, Sons of Gray, Domestic Violence, Beke Dragoste, 15 Polk St., Slik 50 and even karaoke. This is your lucky day. (Captain America)
Santa Fe’s Meow Wolf presents a massive interactive installation
The Due Return, an intergalactic ship 75 feet long and 25 feet across at its widest point, has landed in an alien environment. While traveling through time and space for two centuries, the vessel and its crew collected artifacts, images and stories from many universes. Ten rooms house the haul of 200 years of exploration. The ship has been stationed in TD-31, the 31st dimensional space, for several years now, and its occupants have learned how to live in the foreign land. Glowing trees, pulsating creatures and ancient cave dwellings are some of the mysteries of this world.
Readers of last week’s Culture Shock know that I’m replacing the intrepid John Bear as Arts and Lit editor. It’s a pleasure to jump right into his scuffed and holey shoes (that’s for you, John) and, as one of my first projects, announce our annual Flash Fiction Contest. I encourage every writer and would-be writer in the area to take an hour, get that very short story that’s brewing in your brain down on paper and send it my way. The top four entries will be published in this here paper, and winners will get cool prizes, like books and gift certificates. Keep your submissions to 119 words and email to email@example.com.
I should not be writing this column. I should be speeding away from Albuquerque with the windows down and the music loud. I’ve got the travel part of this gig down. Now for the writing.
Cutting our way to the future won’t work
Rey Garduño, speaking from his place on the City Council dais, asked, “Why are we decimating libraries?” He characterized the situation as “disheartening.”
Ruminations on Assholery
The first graduating class of UNM’s innovative Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media Program (IFDM) is about to show off some of its magic. Students in the program have spent most of the last year working on a 30-minute short called “Haley.” The impressive-looking sci-fi-oriented film follows an ass-kicking father who must hunt a group of thugs through a post-apocalyptic wasteland after his young daughter is kidnapped. Most of the shooting was accomplished at the old Albuquerque Railyard and the local arm of Sony Pictures Imageworks even pitched in to help out with some digital special effects. The film will have its premiere this Friday beginning at 8 p.m. at the KiMo Theatre (423 Central NW). Admission is free, but seating is limited—so get there early. You can check out a trailer of the film at the official Haley website. Congratulations to all involved and good luck on future endeavors!
A low-key Will Ferrell dips his toe in the melancholy suburbs of Raymond Carver
While fellow funnymen Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Jack Black are content to stay in their comfort zones making the same mainstream, man-boy chucklefests over and over, Will Ferrell at least gets credit for trying something new now and again. Of late, he started his own Internet comedy channel (funnyordie.com), briefly replaced Steve Carell on “The Office” and even took over for Ad-Rock in a Beastie Boys video. Now, the ubiquitous comedian is headlining an intriguing little indie dramedy called Everything Must Go.
“The Looney Tunes Show” on Cartoon Network
Change is scary. So it’s not surprising to see people scared, confused and downright rassafrassin’ angry over the prospect of Warner Bros. applying a reboot to the ass of venerable cartoon series Looney Tunes. “The Looney Tunes Show” attempts to rebrand Bugs Bunny and pals for a new generation—by putting them in a standard TV sitcom format. It sounds downright sacrilegious. (“Rape my childhood, will you ?!?” as one online pundit put it.) But it’s probably not as bad as you’re imagining. In fact, it may be the best thing to happen to these characters in a generation.
The Week in Sloth
Our “7 Wonders”-themed Summer Guide feature would be remiss without a tour of New Mexico’s most infamous watering holes. While you’re out exploring this enchanting state of ours, remember to spend a few hours planted on a well-worn barstool. You’re bound to learn a story or two and pick up a little local color—not to mention the potential friends (or enemies) you’ll acquire along the way. Bottoms up!