Alibi Volume 13, Number 14
April 1, 2004
The Alibi's Inaugural Photo Contest
Our first annual photography competition didn't work out quite the way we'd expected. Unlike most Alibi contests of the past, we didn't receive a towering pile of entries. I'll take partial responsibility for this. Two of the categories—Tantrums and Blackmail—were a little bit obscure, and the truth is we didn't get any publishable entries for either of these. Our second disappointment is that we didn't receive a single nude picture of Don Schrader, which has left many of us, particularly Alibi Editor Michael Henningsen, both mystified and depressed.
While daily newspapers decline, Spanish media is booming
Here's a free tip for all you ambitious, self-starting and well-organized students striving for a media career. Start brushing on up your Spanish.
Cheers for a clown. With newspapers like the Albuquerque Journal helping his cause, no wonder Karl Rove is considered to be a genius.
Free advice can sometimes be worth a lot
Were the mayoral election held today and not at the end of next year, Mayor Martin Chavez would not be re-elected no matter how much money he raises and spends. Given the field of interested candidates (Marty, former D.A. Bob Schwartz, City Councilor Eric Griego, and State Sen. Linda Lopez to name some) odds are Schwartz would leave his post as Gov. Bill Richardson's crime guru and take up residence on the 11th floor of City Hall.
Find a pulse in our public schools before looking for one on Mars
Last fall, New Mexicans approved two constitutional amendments dealing with education. One provided millions of dollars for educational reform. The other revamped the state department of education, bringing it under the governor's authority.
Dateline: Scotland—A would-be vampire working at the Edinburgh Dungeons' horror tour has been removed from her job after fainting at the sight of blood. Marianne Sellar, who plays a vampire at the popular tourist attraction, was about to take a bite from a "victim" planted in the audience when another audience member announced that she had a nosebleed. Ms. Sellar, 24, collapsed and was forced to admit to her bosses that she has had a life-long phobia of blood. "It is quite embarrassing," Sellar told the Daily Mail. "I had managed to keep my phobia a secret for three years because normally we only deal with fake blood, which I can handle. When the visitor showed me all the real blood, I just collapsed." Ms. Sellar has been moved to another part of the tourist attraction and a new actress is being trained to replace her role in the Dungeons' feature tour "Vampires: Fact or Fiction?"
April Fools—Guild Cinema is celebrating April 1 in high style with a one-night-only screening of "Pranks!!" This special salute to April Fool's Day includes an assortment of devilish, devious video works from around the country. "Homeland Security: It's in Your Hands" by The White Ring offers "tips" on surviving these increasingly dangerous and scary times. The hilarious "G.I. Joe PSAs" by Eric Fensler, features the red-blooded TV cartoon hero teaching kids how to defuse many a bad situation. "The Eternal Frame" by legendary performance filmmakers Ant Farm is one of the seminal video works of the '70s, restaging the tragic events of Dallas 1963. There will be plenty more video insanity including a rare, classic "mystery screening" by famed underground filmmaker Todd Haynes (Safe, Far From Heaven). Screenings take place at 5:30 and 8 p.m.
The Taos Picture Show Brings Hollywood back to Northern New Mexico
The demise last year of the Taos Talking Picture Film Festival left many wondering what would happen to the artistic, movie-hungry mecca of Taos, NM. A tricky bankruptcy derailed the homegrown festival in 2003, ending (at least temporarily) any chance of hanging out for a weekend, rubbing elbows with a few stars and watching movies in the cool, pine-lined environment of northern New Mexico. Thanks to some last-minute efforts by a team of dedicated film lovers, though, Taos will once again play host to an annual film festival.
Less is more in this very special delivery from Asia
Sometimes less is more. The new film Postmen in the Mountains, shot in 1998 but only recently delivered to America from China, is certainly proof of that. This tiny, deceptively simple story concentrates on an aging mail carrier, whose job it is to lug a mail sack through the rugged mountains of China's rural Hunan province. Forced to retire due to increasingly painful arthritis, the postman passes his job onto his son. The entire film takes place over the course of a single journey in which the father (along with a faithful guide dog) teaches his son the ins and outs of the laborious mail route. That's pretty much it for the plot. There are no surprising twists, no giant crises, no big action sequences. And yet, the film carries an emotional weight far heavier than most Hollywood tearjerkers.
“Animal Face-Off” on Discovery
Discovery Channel's new series “Animal Face-Off” could be the greatest water cooler show ever invented. That's not to say it's the greatest show ever—there are far too many missed opportunities in the series for it to qualify as essential viewing. But the concept is pure, unadulterated genius. It's guaranteed to spark many a debate at work, at school and on the playground.
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, both 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.
Another March has passed, and with it another installment of the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, where several of us go every year to scout the newest, coolest bands. OK, we all see a few older cool bands, too, but most of the reason we go every year is to give you a brief preview of bands to watch when we get back. Plus, it keeps us from killing ourselves (and each other) the remaining months of the year. Here we go with SXSW 2004 Top 10:
Remember that nifty deck of cards that the Bush administration distributed just after we invaded Iraq? The cards were designed to be distributed among members of our armed services to aid in capturing the nastiest members of the Baath regime. They were also designed to popularize an invasion that with each passing day seems to have less and less to do with the war on terrorism.
Methods to Madness at the Vortex Theatre
The Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin once wrote that "the passion for destruction is also a creative passion." This sentiment fuels much of the murderous, hallucinogenic action in the Vortex Theatre's production of Methods to Madness, a darkly funny play by Joel Murray about the art and thrill of acting.
Three new poetry releases from Curbstone Press
Sometimes editors publish writers before they are ready. Confirming that are three recent books from Curbstone Press: E. Ethelbert Miller's How We Sleep on the Nights We Don't Make Love (paper, $12.95); George Evans and Nguyen Qui Duc's translation of Huu Thunh's The Time Tree (paper, $15.95); and Margaret Sayers Peden's translation of Claribel Alegria's Casting Off (paper, $13.95). Too often I found these books stuffed with short poems that read as toss-offs and really merited further thought before inclusion.
Over the last few years, Eric Schlosser has built up a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most innovative journalists in the country. His first book, Fast Food Nation, a huge bestseller, was Schlosser's ambitious exposé of our country's fast food industry. Among other frightening facts, the book revealed an almost complete lack of governmental oversight of the meat-packing industry. He also discussed some of the truly disgusting pathogens and other nasty bits found in much of our fast food.
Albuquerque Little Theatre
The peachiest children's story of all time will be transplanted from the page to the stage starting this week when the Albuquerque Little Theatre presents a production of Roahl Dahl's James and the Giant Peach. Bring the kids. Bring your grandmammy. The classic story of James Henry Trotter and his long and dangerous journey inside the vehicle of a giant fuzzy fruit is truly fun for the whole family. If that isn't enough, there will, I'm told, be an honest-to-god giant peach ensconced right on stage. The play opens on April Fool's Day and runs through August 10. $6. Call for times. 242-4750.
Richard Levy Gallery
The Richard Levy Gallery brings together work from 10 emerging artists in a show opening this week. From Todd Anderson's comedic red prints from his "First Aid for Beautiful People" series to Vincent Burke's latex, paint and steel landscapes to Saya Woolfalk's colorful brain-smashing paintings and sculptures, this exhibit presents pieces on the razor-sharp cutting-edge of contemporary art. Spring Fever opens on April 4 and runs through May 7. For details, call 766-9888.
When I win the Powerball, I'm going to quit this job and live a life of self-indulgence and shameless excess. Sleep ’til noon! Tuaca shots and table dancing all night! A fleet of Hummers in the seven-car garage of my Pueblo-Gothic mansion! But when I get tired of all the partying, I'll do some volunteer work. My first philanthropic effort will be to rewrite the menu of pretty much every restaurant in town. I will strive toward organization, simplicity, accuracy and correct spelling. No longer will Vietnamese cafés list 132 items, 42 of which are rice vermicelli and meat in different combinations. You will simply order vermicelli and then make your own combination from the list: beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, tofu, egg roll. You want enchiladas? You won't have to read three pages of menu, just make a small series of decisions: yellow or blue corn tortillas, beef or chicken, red or green, rolled or stacked, à la carte or plate. I'll give unusual dishes appetizing names and descriptions that actually mean something (I'm sure there's a better way to describe a bowl of soup with well done beef, tendon, tripe and fat). And I'll ban overly confusing terms from the menu. If Scalo wants to serve poussin, fine. But I'm calling it young chicken.
March 12 was the last day of lunch service at Monte Vista Fire Station (Central and Monte Vista NW). Chef Tony Nethery decided to focus his efforts on the already tempting dinner menu and expand the upstairs bar's snack menu. The restaurant now opens at 5 p.m. “Dinner-only is a blast,” Nethery says. “I'm really working on the bar menu, making more nice, small plates. They're not tapas, but like that.” Ted Nicely, Monte Vista's pastry chef, says he's happy to have more time for one of his favorite activities: making ice cream. Nicely offers four or five ice creams and about as many sorbets, in flavors ranging from milk chocolate-hazelnut to raspberry balsamic, guava and pecan praline. His ice cream sandwich is made with flourless chocolate brownies flavored with orange zest, cinnamon and pistachios, on either side of a disc of Earl Grey and coffee-cardamom ice cream. Go ahead, pause for a moment and try to imagine how all those flavors come together. I, for one, plan to take one for the team and try it out in person.
A chat with Matt Nichols, chef and general manager
Gold Street Caffé (218 Gold SW), a popular sidewalk spot for breakfast and lunch, began serving dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays. This development is one of many changes Matt Nichols has planned for the coming months.
Our guide to some of the most appetizing possibilities
Few things work up a bigger appetite than a hot, sunny day spent sitting in church, making the family rounds and chasing after a gaggle of pint-sized egg-hunters who are deliriously hopped up on sugar. After you factor in the time it'll take to clean the puddles of food coloring and egg bits off your floor, you've got to wonder if your sanity is worth a few more hours spent in the kitchen. (It's not). Maybe you can't cook in the first place. Maybe the glare of your mother's pristine cast iron skillet taunts you every morning with memories of perfectly flipped pancakes that you'll never be able to reproduce. No matter. Easter is the brunch holiday, so do it up! This year, leave the work to the professionals and start a new family tradition at one of these excellent restaurants. Or make plans to dump the kids off with relatives and take a few hours of mimosa-induced respite with your loved one. Either way, someone else gets stuck with the dishes.