Mysterious billboards have Burqueños holding their breath
By Kate Trainor
In Albuquerque and along the interstate, people are turning blue in the face. Among them are Al Franken, Orbit (the Isotopes’ furry mascot), a pound puppy and a pigtailed child buckled into a car seat. On billboards throughout the city, these and other personalities are featured literally blue-faced, and for no clear reason. So, we wonder, why the blue faces?
Now, granted, I am not from ’round here. I was born a poor and upwardly mobile working class “colored” child (says so on my birth certificate!) in August of 1963, in the South, in segregated Portsmouth, Va., in an integrated military hospital that sits to this day along the Elizabeth River. You can see the city of Norfolk on the other side of that river. Until the transcontinental slave trade ended legally in the U.S., Virginia, and Portsmouth in particular, was also an essential part of a triangle of the trade in human misery from West Africa to the Caribbean.
Not only did the Feb. 5 Council meeting lack pitchfork-toting, cell phone-brandishing mobs--almost no one showed up at all. Deferred bills included training day care staffs to detect sexual abuse and a cost-benefit analysis of a streetcar system. Councilor Michael Cadigan's memorial encouraging the State Legislature to support school board elections on the same day as municipal or state elections passed unanimously.
Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang is only three months away from movie production. After many fits and starts, the film will be made here in New Mexico and probably released next year. Hat tip to local blogger Coco for the news.
Dateline: New York--A wallet belonging to a Korean automobile factory worker has been found--in upstate New York. The worker lost his wallet last year while checking out the wiring on a Chevy Aveo that was bound for sale in the U.S. It wasn’t until the car left the GM-Daewoo assembly plant in suburban Seoul that J.W. Joh realized his wallet was missing. Several months and thousands of miles later, the Aveo was delivered to the Fuccillo Chevrolet dealership on Grand Island, outside Buffalo. An employee at the dealership was getting ready to deliver it to a customer when he found the wallet in the backseat. He handed it over to his general manager, complete with credit cards, driver’s license and $43 in cash. The wallet was passed up the company chain until a GM executive delivered the wallet to Joh during a recent business trip to South Korea.
Más Cinema, Por Favor--Cinemás, the Albuquerque Latino Film Festival, will take place Thursday, Feb. 15, through Sunday, Feb. 18. Film screenings are spread between the KiMo Theatre in Downtown, the ARTS Lab Garage at UNM, the Guild Cinema in Nob Hill and the National Hispanic Cultural Center on Broadway. Features, documentaries and shorts from Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Panama, Chile, Venezuela, Peru, Uruguay and the United States will be featured in the four-day fest. Organized by UNM’s Arts of the Americas Institute in the College of Fine Arts, the festival includes an emphasis on filmmakers, scholarly work and generating an atmosphere for discussion.
Panic in the Year Zero/The Last Man on Earth (MGM)
By Kurly Tlapoyawa
For as long as I can remember, I have loved post-apocalyptic survival movies. It feels like only yesterday that I stood gawking in wide-eyed youthful exuberance at the poster for The Road Warrior at the Pueblo Drive-in. Nuclear obliteration? I’m in. Worldwide famine? You got me. Apocalyptic pandemic? Now you’re speaking my language! So imagine my joy when I discovered that not one, but two of my favorite post-apocalyptic thrillers were coming to DVD on a double feature disc. The films? The incredible one-two punch of Panic in Year Zero and The Last Man on Earth.
Cute, uncomplicated romantic comedy has a beat you can dance to
By Devin D. O’Leary
Let’s face facts: Romantic comedies were a worn-out genre back when Howard Hawks was coaxing screwball chemistry out of Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. Seventy years on, the boy-meets-girl/boy-loses-girl/boy-gets-girl conventions are about as rigidly defined as you can find in film. The best praise you can heap on just about any modern romcom is the same noncommittal description that The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reserves for planet Earth: “Mostly harmless.”
Thanks to strict censorship and the bad timing of commercial breaks, broadcast television is rarely a scary affair. Classic horror series like “Dark Shadows” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” aren’t particularly remembered for their bowel-loosening terror. Even a truly frightening movie like The Exorcist is rendered tame when all the curse words are edited out (“Your mother sews socks in hell”?) and the puke-spewing is interrupted by an ad for Maalox.
Mahalo, Freddie—Freddie Kekaulike Baker, the Hawaii-born singer and multi-instrumentalist who entertained a couple of generations of Albuquerqueans, passed away suddenly on Feb. 5, two days shy of his 86th birthday, leaving a hole in the city’s musical heart that will not be filled.
Suspend yourself in a perfumed cloud of digital frequency. Local electrolytes AudioBuddha, Diverje and Brian Botkiller perform Saturday, Feb. 17, at the District Bar and Grill (21+). $8 gets you in. (LM)
Grammy-nominated trombonist John Fedchock slides into town to headline the Albuquerque Jazz Festival
By Mel Minter
In this day and age, if you can keep a quality big band together for going on two decades—with many of the charter players still aboard—you deserve a measure of respect. If you are also an exciting arranger, a versatile composer and a top-notch player, respect begins to nudge against awe.
Although the boys in Mike Got Spiked hail from Dublin, you’d never know it from their music and their patterns of speech, which are highlighted by a frequent use of American colloquialisms. The way they approach a multi-instrument solo with the double bass pedals and hammer-on guitar leads of Pantera or slap bass leads á la Primus indicates a strong American rock music influence; something the band happily admits. This fondness for the States has led MGS to venture away from their homeland in search of an American record deal and a chance to win the hearts and minds of those who like a little NOFX with their Incubus. The band certainly has something to offer America’s music scene with a low-pressure stage presence and three- and four-part vocal harmonies on every song. “Unlike some bands, we actually sing our songs live,” explains frontman Gavin McGuire. “We don’t just scream at the crowd.”
Whether your interest is spiritual, scientific or just in the unique physical aspect of it, here's a beginners' guide to harnessing your throat-singing voice. Throat singers produces two or more tones of equal volume simultaneously. Maybe that sounds impossible, but the practice in the small Russian republic of Tuva goes back at least a thousand years, though it's probably older than that. Placitas resident and throat-singer Michael Crofoot gave the Alibi some tips on how to start. Remember, what you're trying to do is "find the most natural sound that your body's all set up to do," as Crofoot says.
While the Orange County power-trio The Irish Brothers are about as Irish as, well, any American with an Irish surname, that doesn’t mean they have a disadvantage against the aforementioned Celtic challengers. Any band that can write a surf-rock riff with serious horsepower like the one in The Irish Brothers’ “How We Are” deserves a slot in our faux competition. With gasoline-soaked vocals and a sound that is equal parts Social D and Johnny Cash, The Irish Brothers seem poised to set the Los Angeles punkabilly scene ablaze.
Back in Black—Your very last chance to check out James Black's eye-poppin' solo show will be at a closing reception this Saturday, Feb. 17. The exhibit, called Ink, consists of Black's images of faces and figures, two entire walls of which were composed in house at the Trillion Space late last month. At the closing gig, your art-viewing pleasure will be enhanced with performances by Alla Faders and Zach Freeman. Come on down! The Trillion Space is at 510 Second Street NW. The reception runs from 7 to 11 p.m. www.thetrillionspace.com.
Photography exhibit gives us views from outside and within
By Marisa Demarco
It’s always a little embarrassing to be a tourist, camera hanging from your neck as you hurriedly check sites off your list, getting glimpses of only the things visitors are supposed to see. Looking back through the vacation photos, it’s like you were fooled a little, as though a palm tree-print curtain was pulled across the less pleasant aspects of the city, leaving only the cliché of G-rated sunsets and tourist-ready beaches.
The Fusion Theatre Company is putting up the Southwest premiere of Craig Wright's play Orange Flower Water starting this Thursday, Feb. 15. Wright was the lead writer for HBO's “Six Feet Under.” His play is about two couples wrestling with the torment of infidelity. This Fusion production runs Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., with matinee performances at 2 p.m. on Sunday. $22 general, $17 students/seniors. Aside from the opening night show, Thursday performances feature a $10 student rush (with valid ID) and a $15 actor rush (with pro résumé). 766-9412.
In recent years, no one has done more to shake up the classical music scene in Albuquerque than Joseph Franklin, the charismatic executive director of Chamber Music Albuquerque. Franklin has just released a memoir called Settling Scores, which details his rise from a working-class family in north Philadelphia to the cutting edge of modern American music. He'll be signing the book at Page One (11018 Montgomery NE) this Sunday, Feb. 18, at 2 p.m. Stop by, grab a copy and listen to some of his tales from the fringes of contemporary music. 294-2026.
C’est Si Bon!—Halfway through a meal at La Quiche Parisienne Bistro, which I enjoyed on their first day of business in late November, I pulled my head out of my soupe de carottes just long enough torealize that every table around me was ablaze with patrons, and every last one of them was speaking French.
The New Mexico Burlesque Showcase takes it off at the KiMo Theatre
By Marisa Demarco
Picture her in five-inch heels, a sequined vintage outfit, stalking a stage in Albuquerque, maybe a bar, maybe a theater, maybe a movie house. She’s brash and bossy. She gets in your face, bats her eyelashes and the fans she’s holding. She plays with you, torments you, teasing.
Alibi's Fourth Annual Valentine's Day Card Contest
By Steven Robert Allen
Unlike revenge, love is a dish best served steaming hot straight from the oven. So break out the pot holders, baby, ’cause the winners of this year's Valentine's Day Card Contest are so blistering they'll burn your fingertips right to the bone.
Karl Deuble's twisted little card—composed on severely damaged cardboard—takes home the prize this year. Judges were especially impressed by Deuble's combination of brutally violent imagery with what is essentially a cutie-pie, lovey-dovey romantic message. For his efforts, he'll get $80 worth of gift certificates to Sushi Gen along with two free passes to the Outpost Performance Space.
Talk to the hand! Cari Lee Pier's submission was one of several cards we received that were commercial grade—you'd be lucky to stumble across a card of this quality in a store. The elegant graphics and dreamy words from Rumi work in tandem to create a very beautiful, soothing impression. Pier will receive $60 in gift certificates to Seasons Rotisserie and Grill.
Self-Scrutiny—All right fellow media critics, we’re about to make “Thin Line” history. As best I can tell, this is the first time the Telescope of Righteous Indignation has been flipped over, leaving the Alibi squirming at the wrong end.
One woman's story illustrates that New Mexico’s Child Enforcement Division is deadbeat for single parents seeking aid
By Kate Trainor
When Jessica Sanchez was a child, she strategically planned visits to friends’ homes at the dinner hour. “I would pretend I was going over there to play, but, really, it was just in time for dinner,” she says. Food and money were scarce during Sanchez’ childhood, as her single mother struggled to collect child support for Sanchez and her sister. Now 28, Sanchez has yet to see a cent of child support, for either herself or her two young sons.
Ideas for how to save the Albuquerque Public School system are flying around the Legislature like aspen leaves on a blustery October afternoon. Every lawmaker seems to have a pet scheme for rescuing our ponderous district from itself--to no effect.
Dateline: Croatia--An angry husband who threw old clothes into his garden and set fire to them because he couldn’t find any clean underwear accidentally burned down his own home. Ivo Jerbic, 55, from Prikraj, near the capital city of Zagreb, told police he had lost his temper after failing to find any clean underpants in a closet full of old clothes. “My wife never throws anything out, I just lost my temper,” he admitted to officers. Jerbic dumped all the clothes in his yard and lit them on fire. Unfortunately, the fire spread to the house, which burned to the ground. Local news agency Hina reported Jerbic could face up to eight years in jail for putting other family members in danger, even though no one was injured.
Asleep on Tippy Toe—Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty is often considered the crowning masterpiece of classical ballet. The world famous Moscow Festival Ballet will stage this tutus-and-fairy-tales production at UNM's Popejoy Hall this Friday, Feb. 9, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $35 to $49. Reserve yours by calling 925-5858 or logging on to unmtickets.com.
Women artists from all over the country—including several from New Mexico—contribute self-portraits in various media to a new exhibit opening this weekend at 516 Arts (516 Central SW). Curated by Suzanne Sbarge, the show incorporates sculpture, painting, mixed media and photography into an examination of femininity and identity. Eye to I opens in the upstairs gallery this Saturday, Feb. 10, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. It continues through March 24 in conjunction with a satellite exhibit presented downstairs by Santa Fe's Museum of Fine Arts. For more information, call 242-1445 or go to www.516arts.org.
Some good news over at the Albuquerque Little Theatre: Albuquerque's oldest theater is back in the black and doing better than ever. Check out their latest show, a production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, presented by veteran director Peter Shea Kierst. Running Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Feb. 18, it's the perfect post Valentine's love fix. $22 general, $20 seniors, $18 students. Group and additional student discounts are available. Reserve tickets by calling 242-4750 or going to www.albuquerquelittletheater.org.
Festival della Cinema Italiana--Are you in the mood for some Italian? This Thursday, New Mexico’s very first Italian Film Festival will debut. From Feb. 8 through Feb. 11, a dozen classic Italian-themed films will be screened around Albuquerque. The Godfather, Life is Beautiful, Big Night, La Strada, Moonstuck and Il Postino are among the flavorful offerings. Venues range from the KiMo theater to the Guild Cinema to the old Lobo Theatre to the Rio Rancho HS Performing Arts Center. Festival passes ($50) and individual tickets ($7) are available in advance at Borders, Saggio’s, the Guild Cinema and the Lobo Theatre. All proceeds will go to benefit UNM Children’s Hospital. For a complete schedule of films and times, log on to www.italianfilmfest.org.
The Last Sin Eater marks the latest release from FoxFaith, a subdivision of 20th Century Fox designed to create “morally driven, family-friendly programming.” Although the word “faith” could be used with regard to Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and just about any other “ism” on Earth, the Fox Corporation clearly has economic designs on one faith and one faith only. All FoxFaith films must “have overt Christian content or be derived from the work of a Christian author.” Perhaps you caught FoxFaith’s theological thriller Thr3e earlier this year. Or not.
Perhaps the scariest and most tragic thing about Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, the extensively researched new documentary by Stanley Nelson, is that it shows the early days of Jim Jones’ infamous ministry. Jones is known today as little more than a lunatic cult figure who led nearly 1,000 people to their deaths in the jungles of South America. But what, you have to wonder, prompted people to follow Jones on his mad exodus? Jonestown shows in sober, chronological detail the growth of Jones’ Peoples Temple movement. The sad and soul-shaking part of Jones’ story is that it started out with such noble intentions, a reminder that no insitution--religious, political or otherwise--starts out with the purpose of doing evil. But, as we have all been reminded time and again, power corrupts. And absolute power? Well, we know the story there.
During the day, Cartoon Network is a repository for clever, often inspiring cartoons for kids of all ages. At night, however, the lunatics take over the asylum. The late-night “Adult Swim” block allows cutting-edge crazy people to participate in some sort of work release program, ensuring stable employment for the criminally deranged and unquantifiably strange cartoons for the rest of us.
The Shins are Bigger than Jesus—Yup, it's official. As of this writing, The Shins' brand-new album, Wincing The Night Away, is the second highest selling album on Amazon.com, beating out The Beatles' Love (No. 8) and Madonna's Confessions Tour DVD and CD set (No. 6), for the love of all that's holy. So technically, they're bigger than the-band-that's-bigger-than-Jesus and Madonna. That's an astounding number of CD players to occupy. And with big-name recognition for what once was a small-town (that would be Albuquerque) band, comes the need for a Shins FAQ. Take note, members of the foreign press.
Music for indie record heads ... and your aunt and uncle, too
By Simon McCormack
Although Chris Adolf resides in the Mile-High City, the singer, songwriter and only permanent member of neofolk project Bad Weather California prefers a small town scene. The yen for a cozier location is evident in his intimate, gruff but earnest style that’s somewhere between a warm embrace and a cold stare. Like many independent musicians, Adolf is not all that comfortable in the digital age. Whenever he thinks a song sounds too crisp or clean, he makes sure to “mush it up.” Adolf and his ever-rotating cast of backing musicians are genuinely interested in making music for the masses, but they also want to make sure their souls stay intact in the process.
It came out this summer, but The Coma Recovery’s Drown That Holy End In Wine is actually the perfect album for Valentine’s Day. “Capulet” (track No. 8) even works as both the backdrop for a satisfying makeout sesh and the anthem of your next breakup. Get it at www.failedexperimentrecords.com.
This part of New Mexico isn’t hurting for upscale restaurants, which means we diners have some tough decisions when a holiday or special occasion arises. Where to take the in-laws who can’t stand us? Where to wine and dine the new boss who we suspect doesn’t like us? Where should we feed the new lover who we really hope likes us?
Last week we came home from a particularly heavy night of drinking to find a sweet surprise on the doorstep: a hulking party pack of somewhat experimental potato chips from the Kettle test kitchen (courtesy of our good web friend Mikey).
Traditional Gifts: Paper Modern Gifts: Clocks Gemstone: Gold jewelry, pearl or peridot Color: Gold or yellow Flower: Orange blossom or pansy Buy: Board games and puzzles, a calendar, books, stationary, tickets to a concert (or a Lobo women's volleyball game) or a painting from a local artist. Have cherished photographs professionally framed. Buy a fashion wristwatch for your mate or an antique clock you can both enjoy in your home. Make: Arrange a bouquet of paper flowers, or write a love letter on the back of a postcard from somewhere meaningful to you both.
Luminous, elegant silver is a perpetual classic. Unfortunately, silver tarnishes over time (thus your grandmother's annual silver-polishing parties), but new tarnish-resistant alloys are making sterling silver more attractive than ever.
Who Says There's Nothing to Do in Rio Rancho?—Well, pretty much everyone. Especially the people who actually live there. Of course, there's Slate Street Billiards and Sports Bar and the shiny new sportsplex, which both make Rio Rancho a happening place for ... sports spectatorship. But as far as live music goes, you're on your own.
Howard Alden, Eddie Daniels, Doug Lawrence and more combine for a multimedia send-off
By Mel Minter
The jazz community was stunned to learn of the unexpected demise of clarinetist Kenny Davern, born John Kenneth O’Davorin, who died of a heart attack on Dec. 12, 2006, at the age of 71. This Sunday, that community is coming together to celebrate the life of a man whom drummer John Trentacosta, one of the event’s organizers, calls “a true master.”
Over her decade-long career in music, 28-year-old singer/songwriter Erin McKeown has earned distinction for her wryly upbeat lyrics and a vocal style that isn’t as much about virtuosity as it is honesty. But, ironically, McKeown’s originality shines through best on her newest album, Sing You Sinners, which offers up 13 tracks of music standards from the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s.
Have you ever smoked a whole duck? What kind of brine would you soak it in? How long should one smoke a full bird? Is there any way to avoid an overly dry duck?
A: Dear Quack,
Smoking meat is one of the culinary areas in which, contrary to what you may have read before, I like to use a recipe. The successful outcome of a smoking session depends on soaking the meat in a brine with the right level of salt.
Ah, it's almost Valentine’s Day, an especially meaningful time for me—a time to eat and drink to excess while wallowing in self-pity. If you're anything like me (single) then the overwhelming pressure to find a valentine can make you depressed.
The concept of all-you-can-eat sushi and sake seemed both really good and tragically misguided all at the same time. This was my thought upon preparation to dine at Sushi and Sake in Nob Hill. I, like many others who frequent the area, had originally assumed that A.Y.C.E. sushi meant all you can drink sake, which the restaurant doesn’t offer. The misconception began with the sign out front that states the name of the restaurant, with the A.Y.C.E. information and prices underneath, which upon first glance (without regard for sentence structure) appears to advertise all the booze you can swallow along with raw fish, rice and seaweed.
It's a distinction in wording important enough to merit italics in the news release. The bills making their way through the state's House and Senate this session require commercial insurance carriers to have a package for domestic partners—if employers choose to offer it.
A conversation with Kathleen O’Malley, Albuquerque’s international peace activist
By Jim Scarantino
You can meet truly amazing people in Albuquerque. I sat down with Dr. Kathleen O’Malley to talk about her work for peace in Iraq, Palestine and, now, Iran. Bill Richardson isn't the only New Mexican flying off to the world’s flashpoints of hate and violence. He goes with the protection of a host government under the glare of television cameras. O’Malley goes in as just another vulnerable human being, using her own resources and body to stand for peace.
Dateline: The Netherlands--Terrie Berenden, a pet shop owner in the southern Dutch town of Zelhem, has invented the world’s first beer for dogs. Berenden created the brew, made from beef extract and malt, specifically for her pet Weimaraners. “Once a year we go to Austria to hunt with our dogs, and at the end of the day we sit on the veranda and drink beer. So we thought, my dog has also earned it,” she said. A local Dutch brewery was consigned to make the nonalcoholic drink, called Kwispelbier. The beer is fit for human consumption as well, but at 1.65 euros a bottle ($2.14), it’s about four times more expensive than a Heineken.
Media Meeting--The UNM ARTS Lab will host New Mexico’s 3rd Annual Media Industries Conference this Friday, Feb. 2, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Student Union Building. This free conference, titled “New Challenges, New Opportunities,” will bring together people from across the media spectrum. More than 300 professional filmmakers, artists, researchers, technology developers, educators and students are expected to attend and network with others to learn about activities, challenges and opportunities in these growing fields.
Peter O’Toole still lights up the silver screen in randy romance
By Devin D. O’Leary
Oscar is a funny old thing. Lots of very deserving people don’t seem to have one. Three 6 Mafia has one, but Martin Scorsese doesn’t. Legends Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Kirk Douglas and Cary Grant never took home statues for acting. Roberto Benigni was handed an Academy Award for directing, but Alfred Hitchcock wasn’t. Peter O’Toole, nominated as Best Actor for work in Lawrence of Arabia, Becket, The Lion in Winter, Goodbye Mr. Chips and four other films, has never formally won. (The actor tried in 2003 to turn down an honorary Oscar, saying he still thought he had a chance to win one outright. Academy officials finally convinced him to accept it.)
It's been a good long time since anyone’s had to dust off the adjective “Tarantinoesque” to describe a movie. Back before the turn of 2000, in the wake of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, the Sundance Film Festival was spewing out hip, ironic, pop-culture-infused crime films faster than the shelves at Blockbuster Video could keep up with. That trend seemed to tire itself out and go to bed after a while—but now comes the hip, ironic, pop-culture-infused crime film Smokin’ Aces.
This Sunday afternoon, as the Colts vie for their first title since moving to Indianapolis and the Chicago Bears try to claim their first Super Bowl win in 20 years, an awful lot of people will be raking in an awful lot of dough. From the overpaid players to the hot dog vendors to half-time performer Prince to the folks selling bootleg T-shirts in the parking lot, everyone will be expecting to make money hand over fist. Of course, the people making the biggest paycheck are, as always, the ones from the network. CBS is asking a bank-breaking $2.6 million for each 30-second commercial that airs during the broadcast.
In Memoriam—Every person who knew Reggie Gammon seems to have a kind word for him. He was a fixture on the art scene here in Albuquerque, maintaining a studio at the Harwood Art Center for years, creating a body of artistic work immersed in music and social justice.
Why be a poet? One can’t do it for a living, not with payments in contributors’ copies and the chances of publishing a slim chapbook worse than lottery odds. The poet will answer that she writes because she must, because it’s only through such arrangements of words that she can attempt an understanding of this world. We should all be poets. Imagine the possibilities!