Alibi Volume 13, Number 13
March 25, 2004
An Interview with an Albuquerque couple living well below the poverty line
Chuck Hosking and Mary Ann Fiske won't be paying personal income taxes this year. In fact, it's been two decades since they've had to. The couple married in 1971 after meeting in New York City's lower east side, and a deliberate process of downward mobility has been a part of their life together from the beginning. Their annual income is well below the $15,800 taxable minimum for a married couple, and every year they donate over half of what they earn to charities in impoverished nations, such as giving thousands of dollars annually to a health clinic in Nicaragua.
Local peace activists share expertise on the IRS
As we go through the yearly ritual of glumly assessing our own tax bills, we are simultaneously digesting news of war in strong daily doses: increasing fatalities, fresh conflicts and the startling numbers associated with funding on-going military endeavors. Military spending, which had been on a modest decline through most of the '90s, is again rising sharply. And we are paying for it.
Strange, pulsating hum baffles Sandia Heights resident
Phil Ciofalo, 81, is tired of being pestered by a constant humming noise in his house—and is even more annoyed by the fact that he can't figure out where it originates.
Ciofalo, a retired chemical engineer, has lived in his far Northeast Heights home since 1984. His doctor says he has the hearing of a newborn baby. He started hearing the noise roughly three and a half years ago.
"The sound got worse (with time) and now it's going on day and night. You hear a vibration like a truck idling in your driveway."
Ciofalo said at first people thought he was crazy but then they began to hear it, too. "People ask 'how can you live with the noise?' I have a cassette player and natural sound tapes to help me sleep." Ciofalo said a friend of his described the hum as a steady stream of noise accompanied by an intermittent pulse. Similar complaints have been reported in Taos for years.
Bookmark it. Now here's a cause that's as noble as the challenge. FactCheck.org wants to reduce the level of confusion and deception in political TV ads.
Haiti's Sad Tutorial on Democracy
It is too bad that our actions speak louder than our words. If that were not so, our treatment of other countries would go into the history books as benign, altruistic, principled. We would be trusted. We would be a beacon of hope. Those are the things that our leaders have always said we stand for.
Dateline: France—A 35-year-old artist, allegedly traumatized over the recent bombings in Spain, was convicted of trying to run over a pedestrian he believed to be Osama bin Laden. The artist, identified only as Pierre, was sentenced last Tuesday by a court in southern France. Pierre was handed a three-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay the victim $615. "If it was [bin Laden], we would have won $5 million," said Pierre's lawyer, David Mendel, referring to the U.S. government's reward for the wanted terrorist. Unfortunately, the victim was not bin Laden. The pedestrian—a man in his 30s—was able to run away from Pierre's car, which crashed along the side of a street near the historic center of Montpellier. Mendel told the court that his client was "the victim of a hallucination."
Like watching the credits for LOTR: Return of the King, the March 15 council meeting made one aware of the thousands of people working off screen as city employees, outside experts, volunteers, neighborhood groups, consultants, boards, committees and interagency coordinators. Reports on the 2025 Metropolitan Transportation Plan and the Middle Rio Grande Regional Water Plan represented two of the largest efforts.
Who's Uncle Graham?—Filmmaker Candy Jones takes viewers on a humorous, but insightful 60-year tour through New Mexico's nuclear history in her new documentary Do It for Uncle Graham. The film will screen on Saturday, March 27, at 11 a.m. at the Guild Cinema in Nob Hill. Exploring her "big three" topics—denial, deception and creative communication—writer/director/narrator Jones takes us from Trinity to Hiroshima to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant to examine some well-known and some not-so-well-known events in our state's history. Interviews include former Secretary of the Interior Stuart Udall, Navajo Tribal President Joe Shirley and New Mexico Interior Departments James Bearzi. The film is inspired by Jones' relative, Uncle Graham, a former State Legislator during New Mexico's pioneer days. For more information on the film and the screening, log on to www.doitforunclegraham.com
Making lemonade out of unwanted lemons
Ben Affleck has had an amazing career, nailing roles in hit films such as Good Will Hunting, Armageddon, Dogma and Changing Lanes. He's got the ability to play the jerk as well as the compassionate guy, but when it comes to romantic characters Affleck should leave them to the experts instead of getting in over his head the way he did in Gigli, and now Jersey Girl.
“Kenny vs. Spenny” on GSN
Following the “Great Blackout of 2004”—during which all Viacom channels were removed from the DISH Network service for a torturous 48-hour period—I found myself scraping the bottom of my satellite dish, looking for some small scraps of entertainment. At the time, there was every possibility that I would never see the likes of Comedy Central, Nickelodeon or MTV2 ever again. Since life without “Spongebob Squarepants” was far too dark to contemplate, I flipped channels searching for solace in some heretofore-undiscovered gem. I can't say I found very many of them, but I did spend a bit of time checking out some stations I'd previously remote controlled my way right past.
A Trip to the SXSW Film Festival and Conference
Cannes is the prestigious film festival. Hollywood goes there to rub elbows with Europeans and to prove how arty it is. Sundance is the trendy film festival. Hollywood goes there to see and be seen. Toronto is the industry film festival. Hollywood goes there to sell product and to promote its upcoming slate of movies. Which leaves Austin's annual South by Southwest Film Festival and Conference with one distinction. SXSW is the cool film fest.
The Eyeliners are back on the radar this week, and are pleased to announce plans for a new record in the near future. The prolific punk rock trio were recently approached by Joan Jett and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts producer Kenny Laguna about working together on a new album to be released on Jett's Blackheart Records. The Eyeliners will begin recording next month in New York City. Eyeliners bassist Lisa says the band have 14 new songs ready to go that are far better than anything they've done in the past, saying, “We have grown so much as musicians in the time since Sealed With A Kiss was released and we intentionally spent a lot of time writing this record. We have never had the extravagance of spending this much time in the studio, so [we] promise that this album will be well worth the wait.” ... Local Top 40 cover band Wyld Country will give a free concert on Saturday, March 27, at Camel Rock Casino (10 minutes north of Santa Fe) at 9:30 p.m. in the Rock Showroom in case you get sick of losing at the roulette table. ... Violinist Willy Sucre and a few of his musical pals will perform once again for the Placitas Artists Series on March 28, at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church at 3 p.m. The quartet will perform works by Copland, Steinbach and Brahms. Tickets are $15. Call 867-8080 or visit www.PlacitasArts.org for more information.
There's really nothing surprising about Roswell Rudd's latest musical endeavor. To be sure, a duo consisting of trombone and fingerpicked acoustic guitar is an unlikely combination of instruments to say the least. But Rudd, afterall, is considered one of the pioneers of avant-garde and free jazz. Rudd recently questioned in a public letter how a 68-year-old veteran Dixieland player such as himself could still be considered avant-garde. Well, Ros, there ain't too many 68-year-old trombonists tearin' it up on stage with acoustic guitar virtuosos in a free jazz format.
Wednesday, March 31; El Rey Theater (21 and over, 8 p.m.): Not surprisingly, Jimmie Vaughan has long been overshadowed as a musician by the astonishing six-string prowess of his late younger brother Stevie Ray. But it was the tragic death of Stevie, not that he was a far superior guitarist to Jimmie as many believe, that forever enshrined him as the greatest blues revivalist that ever lived. Fact is, it was Jimmie Vaughan that captivated American audiences in the '70s and '80s with the most original blues sounds since Buddy Guy. It was Jimmie who inspired Stevie Ray to play. See, Jimmie's the roots of it all, widespread popularity notwithstanding.
Thursday, April 1; Macey Center (N.M. Tech Campus, Socorro, all ages, 8 p.m.)/Saturday, April 3; Outpost Performance Space (all ages, 8 p.m.): Chris Smither always manages to sound real on his records. Like he's living the songs he sings every day. In a sense, that's exactly what the 50-year-old acoustic bluesman is doing—living the very truths he sets to music. Smither's childhood wasn't unpleasant, but it wasn't stable either. His parents, university professors, moved the family from Miami to Ecuador to Texas to New Orleans to Paris back to New Orleans, all by the time Smither was 13 years old and already fascinated by music.
The Foxx guitarist/vocalist Juliet Legend has found her niche. After several recordings and tours with the Rondelles, she's proceeded to co-front a band that perfectly blends campy '60s pop and the kind of trashy '70s glam rock that exploded out of Alice Cooper and the New York Dolls. Garage guitars and a strict Romantics groove lend themselves perfectly to dual, male/female vocals and syrupy-but-sincere lyrics, mostly about the boy-girl stuff that makes the world go 'round. "Ready to Go" is a hit waiting to happen, and my current favorite song, period. The next band signed out of Albuquerque? Very likely.
I'm a big fan of bizarro music, and nothing in the modern musical universe is more bizarre than contemporary "classical" music. From freaky polyrhythms to scales that have no relation whatsoever to the standard 12-tone note series familiar to Western listeners, you never know what you're going to get.
Alexander Rodchenko: Modern Photography, Photomontage and Film at the UNM Art Museum
Hopping from Vancouver to California to New York to Spain, a major traveling exhibit of work by the legendary Russian avant-garde artist Alexander Rodchenko has finally made its way to Albuquerque. The exhibit offers viewers a rare opportunity to consider the profound contributions Rodchenko made to 20th century modernist art while working within the restrictive confines of an authoritarian state.
I love a good cemetery, largely because death and decay, like chocolate and peanut butter, always seem to go so well together. David Bach and Lauri Dickinson's interest in cemeteries is somewhat less morbid than mine. A new exhibit of Bach's black and white photographs and Dickinson's wax-encased mixed-media images focuses on the quiet, gentle aspects of bone yards all over the world. The Way of All Flesh opens this Friday, March 26, with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Inpost Artspace. The show runs through April 26. 268-0044.
Director David Nava has brought a new production of Shakespeare's disturbing tragedy Othello to the Adobe Theater stage. As head of the American Shakespeare Project, Nava has plenty of experience staging Shakespeare, so this classic tale of revenge, jealousy and betrayal should be worth checking out. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Sundays at 2 p.m. $12 general, $10 students/seniors. The play runs through April 11. 892-0697.
There is a certain kind of relief found by throwing up. Like its bodily function cousins the sneeze and the orgasm, vomiting is the culmination of a sometimes lengthy lead-up—though in vomit's case, the lead up and release are much, much less enjoyable. Of course this pertains to the I-should-never-have-eaten-from-that-taco-stand kind of terrible food poisoning retch, or the I-would-rather-die-than-live-like-this variety of convulsive hurling, rather than the sudden surprise of the what?-I-only-did-three-beer-bongs sort of projectile upchuck. Most drunken barfing (like most other bodily functions that occur while drunk) is subdued by numbed nerves and doesn't have the same kind of painful prelude or remission. But when you're really sick and the body is telling you to purge, dammit, purge! there often comes this rebellious sense of reluctance, a back-pedaling of the intestinal tract. The gut warns that it is prepared to eliminate all offending contents but the brain says no, no, no! Batten down the hatches! Which is silly, really, because the post-vomit sensation of cool porcelain snuggled up against your hot cheek is the best feeling you'll have had all day. So embrace retching, I say. Be one with your nausea and approach the coming heave with at least the same casual disregard you would a sneeze or at best, with something more like eager gusto.
The city's first Ben and Jerry's Scoop Shop opened last week at 11225 Montgomery NE (at Juan Tabo). Three new Ben and Jerry's flavors are now available at the shop and this lucky girl was able to preview them a few days before the opening. Chocolate Carb Karma has a reduced carb count for those of you Atkins dieters Jonesin for some ice cream. Primary Berry Graham is a strawberry cheesecake ice cream with a stripe of graham cracker that will make you dig through the pint to follow its rich vein. By the way, both Primary Berry Graham and Dublin Mudslide (Irish cream liqueur ice cream with chocolate, chocolate cookies and coffee fudge swirl) are partners with Rock the Vote's voter registration and motivation campaign. Pints of these flavors carry nonpartisan voter registration information on the containers and portions of the proceeds will benefit Rock the Vote.
A chat with Michele Bernard
Dos Amigos, a down-to-earth New Mexican restaurant at 2039 Fourth NW, has only been open about a year but by the looks of the steady stream of regulars flowing in and out, the place could have been there for generations. Co-owner Michele Bernard talks about what gives the place that old-time feeling.