Alibi Volume 15, Number 03
January 19, 2006
An interview with Jared Diamond
If you walked up to random people on the street and asked them how the United States came to be the wealthiest, most powerful nation on Earth, what kinds of answers would you expect to hear? Maybe they would say it's our industriousness, our Protestant work ethic, that's made us so successful as a society. Some might point to an independent, freedom-loving spirit that grew out of our do-or-die frontier culture. Others might say it's our natural ingenuity as a "race"—“It's in our genes, man." You could also expect to hear some people say that God simply likes Americans more than He likes other people.
A proposal to raise the minimum wage statewide will be on the table this Legislative Session
After a minimum wage increase failed by a tiny margin during Albuquerque's municipal elections in October, a potential increase is once again up for discussion, only this time it's taking place at the state level.
Councilors made up for a cancelled Dec. 19 meeting at a special session on Jan. 9. They unanimously approved eight mayoral appointments to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Committee. The appointees will work with a county committee to plan a memorial to Dr. King more in keeping with his stature than the current semi-secret installation at Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and the railroad tracks. Councilor Michael Cadigan moved a bill giving Albuquerque residents first priority in registering for programs at the city's community centers. The bill passed 7-1, Councilor Ken Sanchez opposed, Councilor Don Harris excused. Councilors also passed a bill stating the city's budget priorities for the upcoming 30-day session of the State Legislature.
Virtually identical photos graced the front pages of both Albuquerque dailies one day last week. In each, members of a middle school student orchestra sawed away diligently at their music while seated on metal folding chairs in a vast meadow of native grasses.
When I was growing up, domestic violence was neither talked about nor acknowledged. Yet, as I came to discover, I had close friends whose father beat his wife for many years. When I found out, I felt betrayed, like I'd been kicked in the stomach. Who knew that such a nice guy could do such an appalling thing; why would such a competent woman put up with it? And, why couldn't I have rescued, or at least have comforted, my childhood friends?
Dateline: Canada—Police in a Vancouver suburb are reminding residents that it's not a good idea to play with a loaded handgun while sitting on the can after a man accidentally shot himself in the bathroom. The unnamed 21-year-old North Vancouver man is facing numerous weapons charges after he shot off one of his own fingers while playing with the gun on New Year's Day. In a public statement, the Royal Canadian Mounted police said, “Perhaps our mothers never explained to us that it was not a good idea to play with handguns whilst using the restroom. But, then again, maybe that was supposed to be a given.”
Crazy Cinema—Cinema Loco returns to the Gorilla Tango Theater on Friday, Jan. 20. Beginning at 10 p.m., Cinema Loco will unspool a secret movie on the big screen. Neither the audience nor the Gorilla Tango actors will know what the film is in advance. Someone in the audience will be asked to provide a new title for the film, and then it's up to the Cinema Loco crew to improvise new, on-the-spot dialogue for the entire film. This is a one-of-a-kind, never-to-be-repeated comedy event. The rating on this late-night screening is R, so be prepared for some raunchy ribtickling. Tickets are available at www.gorillatango.com or at the Gorilla Tango box office (519 Central NW).
Top 10 DVDs of 2005
As always, the end of the year brings an obligatory rush of “best of” lists. Everything from last year's hairdos to videogames are being placed into numerical order so that you, dear reader, can be at peace with the knowledge that you were into this stuff back when it first became cool. Not to be outdone, my crack team of trained video monkeys and I have buried ourselves deep in the dark catacombs of Burning Paradise Video compiling the official VideoNasty list of the 10 best DVD releases of 2005. Please feel free to adjust your personal tastes accordingly.
Where Chairman Mao meets Uncle Walt
There's a perfect, telling image toward the beginning of Jia Zhangke's quietly poetic drama The World. A phalanx of smartly uniformed security guards tote bottles of water through the scorching desert. The pyramids loom in the background. Several hundred yards later, the desert gives way to the Taj Mahal. Clearly, Dorothy, we are not in Kansas anymore.
“Four Kings” on NBC
It's been so long since NBC's Thursday night lineup held cultural significance that it's hard to even recall a time when there was a “Must See TV.” Basically, since “Seinfeld” went off the air 7 years ago, NBC has struggled to maintain its Thursday night sitcom block. From “Good Morning Miami” to “Coupling” to (most recently) “Joey,” NBC's Thursday night lineup has proved itself more sitcom killer than ratings winner.
The Week in Sloth
There's sooo much happening this week. Consult the music calendar for even more fun stuff happening every day.
Thursday—Two astounding Arizona-based chanteuses will blow your mind at a Bosque House Concert—that is, if you can get tickets. See this week's "Lucky 7" for more information.
SuperGiant! SuperGiant! SuperGiant! There ... I said it. Saturday, Jan. 21, at Burt's Tiki Lounge with Bishop and Dead On Point 5. Free. 21-and-over only. SuperGiant. (LM)
with Vedera, One for Hope and Dear Oceana
Launchpad on Tuesday, Jan. 24, $8 (all-ages): If DJ Shadow was in an up-and-coming alt.rock band, the music emanating from his garage would sound a lot like electro-rockers Mute Math. Despite using self-made instruments and a dilapidated keyboard, the New Orleans quartet is steeped in seamless production and Shadow-esque samples with a drum machine background--all of which make for songs that sound as much like dance music as straightforward rock. Paul Meany's Stingish vocals are set on "permanent echo mode," which gives them an airy, ethereal quality similar to Minus the Bear's Jake Snider.
Paving the way for the new breed of bad seed
If former Dead Head and self-proclaimed hippie Mike Burke has learned anything in his 25 years in the music biz, it's this: "Hippie bands can play anywhere. You could be a hippie band and play in your living room at three in the morning and your neighbors won't call the police because it sounds good," Burke postulates, "But if you're a death metal band or a thrash band or a punk band, your neighbors will call the cops within 15 minutes—even if you play at four in the afternoon."
The Emergenza festival in Albuquerque
The club is packed—not an inch left to squeeze in anyone else. The lights dim, you nod to your fellow bandmates and run on stage. The drummer comes down hard on the beat, the stage fades away and the music takes over. The audience jumps, shoulder to shoulder, moving as one giant entity. This is what music is about, you think. You rock through the 25-minute set, the audience screams with delight and hands shoot powerfully into the air. Two contest reps jump on stage and start to count the hands as the roadies shuffle you off stage to get ready for the next band. You've had your half hour--was it worth every penny?
Haul Out Your Easel and Head for the Hills—It's time for the Wildlands Art! 2006 exhibit and fundraiser. Create photographs, paintings, sculptures or other types of artwork depicting New Mexico's extraordinary wilderness or wild public lands, and send it into the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance by Feb. 1. Finalists will be included in an exhibit at the Albuquerque Arts Alliance Gallery during the month of March. For details, e-mail Tisha Broska at email@example.com or call 843-8696.
The Collective at the Trillion Space
Not many people can afford to buy an entire mural. Even if they could afford one, most people couldn't fit it into their homes. A piece of a mural, however, is more manageable, both economically and spatially. Dan Garcia and Rocky Norton recently constructed an elaborate abstract mural on a masonite wall in the Trillion Space. They've decided to sell the thing at the reasonable rate of a mere $40 per square foot. You'll have a tough time finding a better contemporary art bargain.
Site Santa Fe
Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang is perhaps best known for his Project for Extraterrestrials, a series of work incorporating elaborate gunpowder explosions. An exhibit featuring his museum-wide installation Inopportune opens at Site Santa Fe on Saturday, Jan. 21. The piece will incorporate sculpture, video and drawing. At noon, Guo-Qiang will give a lecture describing some of the philosophical foundations of his creations. The show runs through March 26. For details, call (505) 989-1199 or visit www.sitesantafe.org.
If a novel dies in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?
Every year, a writer of importance announces the death of the novel. In 2004, it was V.S. Naipaul standing over the novel's grave. "It is almost over," the Nobel laureate lamented. "The world has changed and people do not have the time to give that a book requires." Last autumn, Norman Mailer took the stage at the National Book Awards, wagged a finger at a crowd of professional readers and likened himself to a carriage-maker witnessing the "disappearance of his trade before the onrush of the automobile."
The Wine Loft is Now Open at Slate Street Café—Owner and certified sommelier Myra Ghattas has had this wine loft on her mind since she opened Slate Street (515 Slate NW, 243-2210) half a year ago. What was once a shell of a space is now a 60-seat cherry perched atop the breakfast and lunch hotspot, with its own extended hours to boot. Patrons can enjoy 25 wines by the glass plus a nice selection of beers and a new bar menu from 4 to 10 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays.
A surprising place for ingenious ingredients and udon soup
The Great Pumpkin would be proud of Sophia's Place. Of all the things that can be made out of pumpkin, they have managed to find the one unique recipe that no other place has exploited throughout the holiday season: homemade pumpkin brownies.