Alibi Volume 14, Number 11
March 17, 2005
According to New Mexico health care advocates, cuts in Medicaid funding not only place the poor, the young, the elderly and the disabled at enormous risk—they're also fiscally irresponsible.
If you can judge the nobility and worth of a society by the way it treats its most vulnerable citizens, then New Mexico, along with every other state in the union, is facing its greatest challenge in the looming Medicaid funding crisis.
The rights of organized labor are going, going ...
If union leaders are feeling a little paranoid about George W. Bush's re-election, maybe it's because they really are being persecuted. Republicans have both ideological and strategic reasons for an offensive against labor. Attacking unions pleases both Bush's corporate friends and the movement's conservatives, and harasses the strongest grassroots political operation opposing the Republican right.
A packed house greeted city councilors at the March 7 meeting. The council approved the appointment of Municipal Development Director Ed Adams to replace Diana Dorn-Jones as the city's Chief Operations Officer. Dorn-Jones resigned to run for Eric Griego's District 3 council seat. Councilor Martin Heinrich's bill requiring medicines such as Sudafed to be sold only with the assistance of store personnel passed unanimously. Druggists would also be required to keep a log of purchasers. The drugs contain ephedrine, used to manufacture methamphetamine.
Whatever else one might say about the neocons and their allies on the right, the anti-abortion forces, the "shrink-guv'mint-down-to-drownin'-size" fanatics and the "Sun Never Sets on the American Empire" gang, you have to give them credit for one thing. They are much more skillful at crafting labels and nifty monikers for what they are up to than are we plodding, earnest liberal/progressive/Democrats.
Dateline: Cuba—Cuban President Fidel Castro celebrated International Women's Day by promising household appliances to all the ladies. In a five-hour and 45-minute speech delivered last Tuesday to throngs of cheering women, Castro pledged that 100,000 Chinese-made pressure cookers and rice cookers would be made available each month at government subsidized prices. The electric rice cooker is a prized possession in Communist-run Cuba, where the staple diet consists of black beans and rice. The cookers were banned nearly a decade ago when Cuba was plunged into economic crisis and power outages due to a loss of Soviet aid and oil. The cookers can be distributed now, Castro said, because Cuba is emerging from its longtime energy crunch. The 78-year-old leader spent two hours of his International Women's Day speech extolling the virtues of pressure cookers.
Peaceful St. Patrick's—If you're in the mood to spend your St. Patrick's Day doing something other than swilling green beer and listening to insulting radio commercials in which local DJs try to sound like leprechauns, then Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center has a proposal. On Thursday, March 17, beginning at 7 p.m., the P&J Center will host a lecture/screening featuring The Peace Movement. This documentary chronicles the modern day peace movement as it has grown and evolved over the past few years. There will be two guest speakers tonight. One is an Iraqi-American speaking on the effects of war on her family, while the other is a member of the League of Democratic Action. The Peace and Justice Center is located at 202 Harvard. Screenings are free and open to the public.
Mother/daughter skating drama is surprisingly cool
When a film comes right out and says in the television commercials and in the trailers that it's the perfect film for “you and your daughter,” I can rest reasonably assured that the film is not being marketed toward me and my white male thirtysomething demographic.
The Warriors (1979)
The first VCR my family bought was a shiny electronic monstrosity, a behemoth status symbol of the '80s about the size of a suitcase and weighing in at roughly 5,000 pounds. Through a special promotion at the electronics store, we were given one full year of free video rental--one rental per week for 52 weeks. You can bet your sweet ass my family drove all the way across town to get our movie-lovin' mitts on our free video. Every week we would pack into the trusty ol' blue station wagon and head out to the video store. And if my uncle Archie happened to come along with us, one thing was certain--we were coming home with a copy of The Warriors.
“Fat Actress” on Showtime
I'm always a little amazed at whom the tabloids choose to make their lifelong rumor fodder. Take, for example, former “Cheers” star Kirstie Alley. For more than a decade, the C-list actress has been haunted by The Star, The National Enquirer and the like, all of whom seem to delight in speculating about the woman's weight gain. Frankly, there are few topics I could care less about, but apparently the average housewife in the checkout stand at Wal-Mart disagrees with me.
The Week in Sloth
Bernadette Seacrest announced this week that she will be embarking on a five-city tour in May, along with Michael Grimes on the upright bass and drummer Jason Aspeslet; they'll be billed as the Bernadette Seacrest Trio. Our favorite fully-inked chanteuse recently bought a sweet conversion van in which the group will drive, eat, sleep and fart, but not smoke! Destinations include Plush in Tucson, Cinema Bar in Los Angeles, Pat's Garage and Bruno's in San Francisco, Liquid Kitty in Santa Monica and Zebulaon's Lounge in Petaluma. Wish them well. In the meantime, check out Bernadette at Gulp (the cocktail lounge next to Graze at Monte Vista and Central) every Saturday from 8 to 10 p.m., when no smoking is allowed in the bar. For complete tour info, go to www.bernadetteseacrest.com.
with Shoulder Voices
Friday March 18; Atomic Cantina
What is cobra? Is it a terrifyingly deady snake? Or a terrifyingly arty experimental music game in which a diverse group of musicians play together, but not at the same time. Though the game is highly structured, to the audience, it should just sound like "really spastic music." That's how group member Raven Chacon describes it. Check it out. If you like it, ask to join the group.
Historic El Rey Theatre is quickly becoming a blistering venue for live music. Owner Kathy Zimmer has been successfully producing shows since her days in L.A. After three years back in the Albuquerque saddle, she is bringing some diverse and extraordinary talent to the stage at El Rey. Saturday, March 12, was no exception. Along with Wave Front Promotions and Wiggle Wire Productions, Zimmer brought '80s rock legends the Fixx to Albuquerque with local band simple. serving as a worthy warmup act.
Angeles Drake is something like a modern-day Alan Parsons Project with vocals similar to Depeche Mode's Martin Gore. These songs are all a bit eerie. They're also extremely difficult to classify, sounding a bit like Pink Floyd without the drugs. You have to be in a meditative mood to enjoy this. A whole album of these similar sounding songs gets a bit tiresome, but the music is mostly enjoyable. This would be a better record if the group was a little more eclectic.
A couple months ago, SolArts, the art and performance space located along Central between Downtown and the University, expanded its operations by opening a new theater thrift store. The organizers opened the store partly because they needed a place to store their largish collection of theatrical costumes. As a way to help generate funds, the organizers intend to place as many costumes as possible from SolArts productions in the store following the run of the show. Right now, they mainly have women's attire, much of it vintage, but they also have wigs, feather boas, gloves, books, some freaky props and other theatrical accessories. Weird and wacky stuff, and none of it is priced over $15. They've also got a rack of rentals with each costume costing only $10 per night. For details, call SolArts at 244-0049, or stop by on Friday and Saturday afternoons. SolArts is located at 712 Central SE, one block west of I-25.
The Feminist Paper Doll Show at Offcenter
Boys and girls both play with dolls, but boys rarely admit it. In the world of little boys, dolls aren't dolls anyway. They're action figures. If you squeeze G.I. Joe, he won't ask you to feed him or change his diapers, but he might very well tell you he's going to blow your head off with his machine gun.
Tricklock Performance Space
I saw a lot of fantastic shows at this year's Revolutions International Theatre Festival, but the best of the lot, in my opinion, was Splinters, a brilliant theatrical metaphor for the conflict between religion and science created by the Tricklock Company's Kevin R. Elder and Summer Olsson. Elder is back with a new one-man show called Tangential that's directed by Olsson. I'm willing to bet the farm that this one will kick your butt. The show opens this Friday, March 18, with a special catered gala at 8 p.m. at the Tricklock Performance Space (112 Washington SE). $18. Tangential then runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 6 p.m. through April 10. $12 general, $9 students/seniors. 254-8393.
Although it's deeply unfortunate that this production won't feature a topless Uma Thurman, Les Liaisons Dangeureses should be a rollicking good show nonetheless. Directed by Jessica Osbourne, this local production of Christopher Hampton's play about the dark arts of seduction should appeal to fans of the award-winning movie. This staging boasts lavish period costumes, a suspiciously phallic set and a cast of notable local performers. Les Liaisons Dangeureses runs through April 10 at the Vortex Theatre (2004 1/2 Central SE). Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Sundays at 6 p.m. 247-8600.
The first thing you should know is that our very own homegrown partners in comedy Mark Chavez and Shenoah Allen no longer call their act Sabotage. They're now called the Pajama Men. The second thing you should know is that, after years of touring to critical acclaim, Albuquerque's favorite idiot twins have been picked up by the Second City, the goofball granddaddy of American comedy institutions. The third thing you should know is that the Pajama Men will be performing a new sketch show called Stop Not Going at the Q-Staff Theatre (4819 Central NE) starting this weekend. The show will run Fridays and Saturdays at 9 p.m. through April 9. $15 general, $12 students. They'll also be doing a fully improvised show called Dirty Thursdays on, yes, Thursdays at 9 p.m. through April 14. $9. You will be amused. 255-2182.
Factory on 5th Art Space
Margaret Carlson brings a whole new meaning to the term fabric art. Her astonishing construction, Husht Reverberations, is composed of over 10,000 yards of donated fabric, created with a lot of help from her friends. In its sheer mass alone, this is an impressive piece of work, and I'm told it's even more amazing in person. Carlson will exhibit this piece starting this week at Factory on 5th Art Space along with an undulating canvas work created by Christy Kay Lopez called The Observer Effect. The show opens Friday, March 25, with a reception from 7 to 11 p.m. Runs through April 25. For details, call 259-9029 or 255-3331.
An interview with Jimmy Santiago Baca
It's hard to talk about Jimmy Santiago Baca without repeating the well-worn tale of how he became a poet. It's a familiar story, but a great one, the kind of story that never gets tiresome no matter how many times you hear it. After all, Baca's biography has several elements every fine tale should have—a troubled past, a tragic mistake and, most important of all, an intoxicating conclusion combining redemption and grace.
It's a texture thing. Sometimes yogurt makes me gag—not enough texture. And certain mangoes have that furry quality that makes my tongue feel rubbed the wrong way. I love the rough, graininess of jicama, but not the stringy thing about celery. The sliminess of okra chunks in gumbo: good. The slippery sticky film of meat that's been in the fridge too long: bad. Papaya and avocado are both silky smooth, but just firm enough to be sexy, not icky. The chewy crust of Sage Bakehouse's paisano loaf makes me want every sandwich to be on that bread. And I could eat a heap of deep fried chicken skins; there's something so decadent about the combination of crispy, crunchy top and soft, pale skin underneath. The lacy edges of an egg cooked in bacon grease are always divine, especially when swabbed with a little runny yolk. The crisp/creamy thing is a killer, too, like cottage fries dipped in queso, Lay's Classic chips in green chile dip, chicken-fried steak smothered in gravy. Oooh! Serve me flaccid pasta, crunchy risotto, too-fried refried beans or pasty potatoes and you're fired. Make my bacon just right—crispy but not so stiff it shatters, still tender but not soggy—and I'll love you forever. It's a texture thing.
First you, Graze, then you, Gulp. Or is it the other way around? Chef and restaurateur Jennifer James has unveiled her newest venture, a sophisticated lounge called Gulp, in the storefront next to Graze (Central and Buena Vista, 268-4729).
Not that far, but a world apart
Let's face it, the Duke City is challenged in the sandwich department. I used to count on one hand the number of places that I'd go to for a sandwich, but now I'm going to have to use my other hand too, because that list just got longer. I finally ate my first New York deli-style sandwich at Deli Mart West. I had heard about the place from several friends over the years but, because it's "way over on the Westside," I only headed out to find it once, got lost and never went back. Truth be told, it's only 10.09 miles and 17 minutes from my house. That's about how long it takes me to get almost anywhere in the city. Barrio-centricity strikes again.
I know my ham. You got to know your ham. Especially if you're gonna order a big, fat deli sandwich stuffed with a dozen different pork products.
Country-style ham (also called old-fashioned or Southern-style) is dry cured by rubbing salt and spices onto the meat's surface and contains no added water. It is a specialty of the Southern states. Country-style ham is extremely salty and usually served in small portions, very thinly sliced.
Prosciutto is an Italian-style, salt-cured ham that is air-dried and is not smoked. It is aged between 10 months and two years before it is thinly sliced and eaten raw. Prosciutto has a sweet, delicate taste and adds flavor to salads, side dishes, entrées and appetizers.
Don't overthink it! This stuff is easy.
So I'm riding in the car the other day, talking about Italian restaurants and how sometimes it doesn't make much sense to eat out when what you really want is a home-cooked meal. My buddy's going on and on about his garlic bread and this elaborate method for it, and I'm like, whoa! That's way, way too complicated. Here's how you make garlic bread. Take a nice, fat Italian loaf. Cut slices like an inch, an inch-and-a-half thick. Put the slices on a cookie sheet and throw 'em in the oven. Toast. Flip halfway through and you get crunchy toasts; don't flip and you get one crunchy side and one squishy side. I like the crunchy/squishy combo.