Alibi Volume 13, Number 42
October 14, 2004
10th Annual Alibi Short Film Fiesta
Yes, believe it or not, this year marks the 10th Annual Alibi Short Film Fiesta. For an entire decade, the Alibi has labored to present a showcase for homegrown independent filmmakers and to show off that talent to local film-loving audiences.
Saturday, Oct. 16 (3, 6, 9 p.m.)
Total run time of program: 101 minutes
Directed by: Ryan Denmark
Length: 13 minutes
In this sci-fi/romance/comedy, two mad scientists engage in a bizarre form of flirting: engaging in a high-tech competition to see who can build the most heartbreaking dating simulation robot.
Directed by Jeff Drew
Length: 7 minutes
This unique blend of live-action and stop motion animation tells the sad tale of a man and his loving relationship with the perfect woman, who just happens to be a 12-inch fashion doll.
Directed by Chris Kientz & Simon Jones
Nader supporter inflames Michael Moore
No great moment comes without toil. As proof, before Michael Moore was introduced to an exuberant crowd of 7,500 people at the Pit on Sunday, he was subjected to a press conference with our local media. Just minutes, in fact, before Moore walked across the Pit floor to his podium, greeted by a sustained standing ovation, he had to contemplate this inane question from a local TV newsman: "Why do people like George W. Bush?"
We got game. In a glowing review of last month's grand opening of the National Hispanic Cultural Center's new Roy E. Disney performing arts center, a Los Angeles Times caption on Sept. 21 asks: "But why couldn't it be in Southern California?"
While Mount St. Helens threatened fireworks, the Oct. 4 Council meeting considered Albuquerque's own volcanoes, went sub-ballistic regarding a missile, and saw two of the city's most level-headed officials vent giant steam clouds at each other.
Personally, I prefer neither
Dick Cheney, we now know, is either one of the most deluded people in America—so senile that he can't remember meeting John Edwards—or one of the nation's most brazen liars. I'm talking about his statement during last week's vice presidential debate: "I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9-11."
The Case of Mordechai Vanunu
Few people in the US know the name Mordechai Vanunu. 19 years ago, working as a scientist in the then secret Israeli nuclear weapons program at its Dimona facility in the Negev, a desert region in southern Israel, Mordechai Vanunu, in a brave act of conscience, revealed the existence of this program to the rest of the world. For this service to humanity, Vanunu, who traveled to London to give his story to the Sunday Times, was eventually drugged and kidnapped in Rome by agents of Mossad—Israel's equivalent of the CIA—taken back to Israel and imprisoned for 18 years, 11 of those in solitary confinement. Released from prison on April 21st of this year, Vanunu remains under tight Israeli control, unable to leave the country and forbidden to speak with foreigners. He stays in East Jerusalem in a guest house at St. George's Cathedral, spending his days reading, answering emails, walking around East Jerusalem and the Old City and, in open defiance of his captors, talking to as many foreigners as he can.
Campaign ads put a smile on voters' faces
If the Heather Wilson for Congress campaign has made one thing crystal clear, it's that Democratic challenger and current State Sen. Richard Romero hates children. Especially yours. And he hates the adults who attempt to educate and care for them.
Dateline: Brazil—A rancher accused of ordering the murder of four government agents inspecting claims of slavery has been released from jail after being elected mayor of his home town. Anterio Manica was let out of prison last Tuesday night after his landslide victory for mayor of Unai, a rural town 90 miles from the capital of Brasilia. A Brazilian court ruled that Manica could take office on Jan. 1 while the justice system investigates federal police accusations that he and his brother hired the gang that executed three labor ministry inspectors and their driver earlier this year. The agents were ambushed near Unai as they were looking into reports of forced labor on a black bean plantation owned by Manica's brother Norberto, who is one of the world's top bean growers. Although Norberto remains in custody, Anterio is free to pursue his political career. “As he was elected mayor, there is little concern he would try to flee,” said a Federal Police spokesman.
Outdoor Activism—A new documentary titled Monumental: David Brower's Fight for Wild America will open Oct. 15-17 at the Center for Contemporary Arts Cinematheque in Santa Fe. The film profiles legendary environmentalist David Brower, who is credited with halting construction of dams in the Grand Canyon and helped establish both Redwood National Park and Point Reyes National Seashore. On Friday, Oct. 15, director Kelly Duane and former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, who worked under LBJ and JFK, will be in attendance at the film's premiere. Immediately following the film will be a post-screening party in honor of Udall. For complete information on times and tickets, call CCA Cinematheque at (505) 982-1338
Dance movie remake generates less steam than a “Solid Gold” reunion.
The spectacle of new films chewing ravenously on the entrails of old (and, in this case, not so old) movies should no longer come as a surprise to American audiences. Still, I cannot help but balk at the molded plasticity of films of such low ambition as Shall We Dance?
Eye-popping sequel is an incredible visual thesis
The 1995 anime film Ghost in the Shell casts a long shadow in pop culture. Its violent futureworld of downloadable consciousness, urban blight and invasive biotechnology provided a crazy quilt of science fiction textures for later creators to swipe and rework. The Matrix is only the most obvious example of its pervasive influence.
The Week in Sloth
“He's a Lady” on TBS
Future TV historians, debating cultural “jump the shark” moments, may very well conclude that reality TV most likely burned out as a genre right around the time FOX broadcast “The Littlest Groom.” Just because reality TV ran out of ideas several seasons ago doesn't mean that the genre is showing any signs of slacking off. Networks are still scrambling to stuff their schedules with cheap-to-produce reality series, most of which demonstrate only the slightest variation on the theme: Witness NBC's “The Apprentice” vs. ABC's “The Benefactor” vs. FOX's “The Billionaire.”
Last Thursday night's Mountainside YMCA local band showcase was a smashing success. The second event of the “Band-It” showcase series featured Camden, the Ryan McGarvey Band, Someday, Gingerbread Patriots and Unit 7 Drain. All of the above gave spirited performances, but the surprise of the evening, at least as far I as was concerned, was 17-year-old blues guitar prodigy, Ryan McGarvey. With a little more vocal seasoning, just a tad more experience and a few additional original tunes, this kid's gonna be as jaw-dropping a performer as Alex Maryol. The YMCA's “Band-It” series will resume in the spring. ... El Paso's Cantina Flys will appear at Pucinni's Golden West Saloon on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 9 p.m., after appearing on KUNM's “Ear to the Ground” program at 7 p.m. ... and right next door at the Launchpad, you can catch the Punx Unite Tour, featuring The Casualties, Lower Class Brats, Frontline Attack and The Visects. Children of all ages are welcome at this one, but details regarding just what the “punx” are uniting for or against are hazy as of press time. ... Acclaimed axman Greg Osby is slated to appear on Monday, Oct. 4, at the Outpost Performance Space at 7:30 p.m. If Joe Anderson bought bigger ads, I'd have more space to tell you all about this show, but you'll have to settle for calling 268-0044 for more information.
with Slightly Stoopid
Friday, Oct. 15; Sunshine Theater (all ages, 8 p.m.): G. Love (a.k.a. Garrett Dutton) got his sauce back; that is, in reviving his career, he had the foresight to re-enlist the formidable contributions of original Special Sauce ingredients James “Jimi Jazz” Prescott on upright bass and Jeffrey “The Houseman” Clemens on very sparse drum kit. The resulting album, The Hustle, soon to be released on San Francisco's Brushfire Records, is a return to the urban hip hop-meets-ragged Delta blues sound that proved to be one of the freshest things to happen musically or otherwise in the mid-'90s. (There are, after all, very few among us who can honestly claim to not have sung out loud the chorus of “Baby's Got Sauce” out of pure delight for the song.)
To say that Samite's journey thus far has been difficult would be to understate the enormity of loss and struggle that has marked the Ugandan musician's life throughout. Extraordinarily, though, Samite has distilled the whole of his experience—the good and the bad—into lyrics and melodies that seem to have very definite healing powers. Not in that slightly creepy standard “new age” way, rather in a visceral, primal, beating-to-the-rhythm-of-your-own-heart way.
Forgive me for weighing in rather late on this one, but I honestly thought it would grow on me. It didn't. As one of the last vestiges of the infamous (and quite infamously overrated save for Neutral Milk Hotel) Elephant 6 collective, Elf Power's seventh record is about as average as they come. If the whole Elephant 6 phenomenon isn't completely out of gas at this point, then Elf Power have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that it's running on fumes at best. Walking ... isn't a bad record, but it's lackluster and boring to say the least.
It's hard not to love a story about the blood-sucking undead. Bram Stoker's immortal story has been made and remade into so many different forms it would be impossible to list them all. A campy theatrical version called The Passion of Dracula transports the story to the English countryside in 1911 where several young girls have died under mysterious circumstances. Could the new neighbor, a long-in-the-tooth fellow named Count Dracula, possibly be responsible? No, of course not. Don't be silly. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Sundays at 2 p.m. $18 general, $15 seniors, $13 students. Runs through Oct. 31. 242-4750.
Les Blancs at Out ch'Yonda
"All art is ultimately social," Lorraine Hansberry once said. She put that belief to the test during every stage of her tragically brief literary life. The 1959 stage version of her famous play, A Raisin in the Sun, starring Sidney Poitier, was the first by a Black woman to ever be produced on Broadway. The 1961 movie version—also starring Poitier, in one of his most iconic roles—cemented this complex but accessible play's well-deserved position in the pantheon of American theater. James Baldwin praised A Raisin in the Sun, which tells the story of a Black family struggling for survival on the South Side of Chicago, for putting "the truth of Black people's lives" on stage for the first time.
Think of it as the Lollapalooza of the literary world. Instead of squealing guitars, sweaty singers with weird haircuts and tour busses loaded with illegal drugs, five rising rock stars in the fiction world will descend on Albuquerque for a literary show unlike any our little village has ever seen.
University Art Museum and the Jonson Gallery
When soldiers returned from Vietnam, they had plenty to say, but few Americans back home were willing to listen to them. Many of these veterans found a necessary vehicle for expression in art. The National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum in Chicago is the only art museum in the world whose primary focus is exhibiting art created by Vietnam War combatants. An exhibit of work from this museum's collection goes on display this week at the UNM Art Museum and UNM's Jonson Gallery. A reception will be held at both locations on Friday, Oct. 15, from 5 to 8 p.m. The shows run through Jan. 7. 277-4001.
For four years now, environmental artists have put together an astonishing outdoor exhibit called The Land on a beautiful 25-acre site near Mountainair. This year's show is a little different. Interested parties are invited to pick up a CD of audio art at either La Montañita Coop (3500 Central SE) or Bound To Be Read (6300 San Mateo NE). Directions to the site are attached to the CD. Folks are advised to listen to this CD on their drive to the site to prep them for the amazing outdoor installations they will encounter. The Land is open to visitors on Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. through Oct. 31. This year's show explores the theme of death. 242-1501.
You know what's weird? About half of the way through Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow—the retro-future film in which Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow save the world from robot attackers—I realized that so far nobody had eaten anything. I made a bet with myself that nobody would, either. I mean, what is retro-future food? In case you haven't seen the movie, Sky Captain has the look and feel (mostly computer generated) of a film about the future made in the '40s. Somehow, it seemed unlikely that the director would sway the viewers' attention with the introduction of pot roast pellets or tuna casserole injections. Would Sky Captain pause before climbing into the cockpit, pull out a small plastic case and place on his tongue a dissolving film, not a breath-freshening mint, but one that releases the full flavor of turkey and all the trimmings? Probably not. The only two foods I did notice in the film (and honestly, I had to go to brandcameo.com to recall them) were Coke and Dubble Bubble. Maybe imagining Jetsons-style meal-replacement mints was silly. If there's any food that will make it into the future, it's certainly going to be Coke. And if Dubble Bubble, the gum with the flavor that disappears after a minute of chewing, is still going strong after 80 years, it'll still be here when the giant robots come to kill us all.
Downtown's El Chamizal Mexican restaurant (Fifth Street and Central) is now Paco's New Mexican restaurant. After taking over at the end of September, the Aviles family quickly painted over the El Chamizal logo and simply added "New" to the words below it. They later repainted the entire sign, but for most Downtown lunchers the temporary fix was good enough. (The Central Avenue corridor has been without a New Mexican restaurant for a while now, though many cafés serve New Mexican items on their menus.) Paco's is a family business, Marisol Aviles said last week. She and her siblings—sister Gabriela and brothers Martin and Paco—run the place together. They agreed to name the restaurant after Paco because he's the cook, and the one with 18 years of experience in the restaurant business, most recently at Garcias Kitchen, Marisol said. The Aviles Family have also drafted Mom, Dad and various nieces to help out, the guys in the kitchen and the ladies out front. The family grew up mostly in Mexico but most members have been in the States for years. Marisol said they decided to focus on New Mexican food because of its simplicity and Paco's experience with the food. Paco's serves breakfast all day, including pancakes and omelets alongside huevos and breakfast burritos. Speaking of breakfast burritos, the tortillas here are notably delicious. They're thick, fluffy and taste suspiciously homemade—because they are! Marisol informed me that they make all of the tortillas in-house as well as the dough for sopaipillas and Indian tacos. A few dishes on Paco's menu, the flan, sweet rice and salsa are made in the traditional Mexican fashion from family recipes. Paco's serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Thursday; and breakfast, lunch and dinner on Friday and Saturday. Check it out when you're in the mood for a really nice tortilla.
New Mexico wine purveyor Dan Murray quits the corporate life to take a big chance
Dan Murray, a successful salesman for large and powerful wine distributors, has been a familiar figure in New Mexico's wine business for a decade. But now Murray has quit his corporate gig and, with a small group of investors, bought a small Santa Fe company called Boutique Wines. Last week we chatted about wine, working for The Man and the transition to working for yourself.