Turn on a faucet. Any faucet. If the faucet you've chosen is in Albuquerque, the water that surges out of your hose, into your kitchen sink, onto your head or down your toilet is older than Christianity. Older than the Roman Empire. At least as old as the end of the last Ice Age. This 10,000-year-old water is pumped from beneath your feet and forced to the earth's surface from a fractured network of vessels that make up the city's aquifer.
Seventy-year-old Mike Mabry sits next to his front door in full reach of the blazing sun’s penetrating rays. The weather challenges the fact that only two nights before, patches of crystalline snow had been surreptitiously deposited throughout the Sangre de Cristo Mountains that stand silently before us. As Mike looks out toward those sentinel peaks standing guard around the mesa, I watch little sweat pearls form above his deeply tanned brow. They bead up and then slowly journey down his intensely focused face, traveling along well-worn lines before disappearing into his scraggly, gray-and-white beard. “Those mountains change every gazilla-second," he says. "They’re either growing or melting; I haven’t figured it out and I’ve been watching them forever.”
Unclassifiably original band merges East and West in dance grooves galore
By Mel Minter
When you slide Heimlich, the latest CD from 17 Hippies, into the computer, the disc obligingly gives up the expected data: album name, track titles, artist, etc. It’s all pretty straightforward until you get to “genre.”
The New York Times review of Christopher Paolini's dragon-loving Eragon perhaps describes it best: "For all its flaws, is an authentic work of great talent." Paolini, for all his nearly 25 years, is an arguably talented fantasy writer whose skills, we can hope, are refined in his upcoming book, Brisingr. The third installment of the Inheritance Cycle—which was originally billed as a trilogy but is now a four-parter—releases on Saturday, Sept. 20, and two Albuquerque Barnes and Noble locations (600 Menaul NE and 3701-A Ellison NW) are celebrating with dragon-related events. Both gatherings start at 10 a.m.
Cosmic Maintenance and Executions and Democracy at [AC]2 Gallery, and Metropolis 3 at MOV-iN Gallery
By David Leigh
I’ve always been fascinated with artist biographies—poring over who did what, when and at what age. Like how Joseph Kosuth wrote Art After Philosophy and After when he was 24 or how Gordon Matta-Clark did his amazing architectural cuts before dying at the age of 35. This historical research matters when you make art. It’s barometric; using the lives of the artists you admire as a way to put your own career (or lack thereof) in context. If you’re 25 and you read that Picasso painted Les Demoiselles d’Avignonwhenhe was 26, it creates a kind of historical chip on your shoulder and you grumble back into the studio to try to one-up the bastard.
Junot Díaz is the “It Kid” in literature today. The author of the 1996 short story collection Drown, he was awarded this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead). The novel chronicles the journey of an overweight, sci-fi loving, Lord of the Rings-obsessed, first-generation Dominican-American whose hopes as a writer are crushed by his inability to find love (or even a little action).
I travel a lot for work. It usually involves trekking back and forth between Albuquerque and Las Cruces in search of good eats. Recently I headed to Taos and Arroyo Seco to work on a story that had nothing to do with food (see this week's feature, "A Road Less Traveled"). But, as with everything else I do, food came to play a significant role in my trip.
How long is the world's longest chile ristra? After a scuffle with a news cameraman, what happened to one APD officer? Who is Bill Richardson talking about but not endorsing for governor in 2010? Where's the armor on a Typothorax?
Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign prodded a drowsy, sharp-tongued beast.
Throughout the Republican National Convention, politicians, including McCain, derided the press for playing sides in the presidential race. They mocked what they said was the media's unfair treatment of McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and accused the media of being covertly sexist.
But, as the Boston Phoenix’s Adam Reilly points out, McCain’s war with the media started before he selected Palin as his vice president. In July, McCain’s campaign decided to limit reporters’ access to the senator. The man who pioneered the “Straight Talk Express” is keeping journalists at arm’s length. Never mind that the campaign has refused to allow the press to ask Palin any questions at all, save for an interview with ABC’s Charles Gibson last week.
Dateline: Congo—A herd of “wrongfully imprisoned” goats have been freed from jail thanks to the intervention of a Congolese minister. According to the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper, Deputy Justice Minister Claude Nyamugabo spotted the herd of goats crammed into a cell during a routine prison visit. The animals were apparently charged with being sold illegally by the roadside. The goats were scheduled to appear in court, alongside their owner, in the capital city of Kinshasa. Nyamugabo said the mistake had arisen because police officers had gaps in their knowledge of the law and would be sent for retraining.
Do you love movies? Of course you do, or you wouldn’t be reading this section of the paper. A better question might be: How much do you love movies? If you’re a dedicated cinematic fanatic with a serious need to show off your love of all things theatrical, you might want to consider stopping by Louie’s Rock-N-Reels. For years, Louie’s has been the place to pick up movie posters, banners, lobby cards, collectable press kits and more from movies both classic and modern, foreign and domestic. The problem has always been fighting your way through Louie’s massive collection, most of which never even made it onto the crowded floor of the store at 105 Harvard SE. Just last week, however, owner Louie Torres took over the space next door, formerly occupied by We Buy Music. This has effectively doubled the size of Louie’s Rock-N-Reels. Now you can leisurely stroll the aisles, digging your way though movie history in search of a prized piece of memorabilia. Stop by now for the grand reopening and tell ’em the Alibi sent ya.
The first annual Santa Fe Metaphysical Film Festival
By Devin D. O’Leary
The fact that Santa Fe is launching its first-ever Metaphysical Film Festival probably comes as little surprise. “What with Santa Fe Being the vortex of everything metaphysical, this seems like the perfect place for it,” offers Lexie Shabel, assistant director of the event. The bigger surprise may simply be that it took this long for someone to come up with the idea. “There is no other metaphysical film festival in existence,” says Shabel. “There are spiritual film festivals and the like.” Asked to spell out the difference, Shabel--a filmmaker herself and founder of Tesuque’s Gringa Productions--gets philosophical: “I guess this is more esoteric and encompasses that much more because of it.”
Anyone who thinks the Coen brothers consciously alternate their more serious films with wackier, palate-cleansing comedies hasn’t been paying much attention. Sure, their new film Burn After Reading is a slapstick romp compared to the angsty bloodletting of their Oscar-winning No Country for Old Men. But even the bros’ most slate-faced thrillers (Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink) are filled with sneaky black humor. By the same token, their most screwball comedies (The Big Lebowski, The Hudsucker Proxy) are lined with grim moments that in other hands would be the stuff of horror films. Steve Buscemi being fed into a wood chipper in Fargo: Is that the Coens being funny or grisly? The answer is simple: Both, baby.
Reruns are for sissies. These days, we rent boxed sets of TV shows and gobble an entire season in a single weekend marathon. With the new fall TV schedule getting underway, now’s the perfect time to play catch-up, renting “Complete First Season” DVDs for shows you might have missed on the first go-around. Here are our top choices to get you prepped for premiere week.
Forming a comedic improv troupe is like starting a band. A few inspired souls bond over their mutual appreciation for the artistic genre. They group, create material, slap on a catchy name and search for gigs. Albuquerque isn't as peppered with improv as, say, Chicago or New York City, but that doesn't stop Burque-born improvisers from making their own stage. Or creating their own festival.
It's the 70th anniversary of the New Mexico State Fair. If there were ever a year to eat deep-fried Twinkies, this is it (though the must-scarf junk food item for 2008 appears to be chocolate-covered bacon). And this week's free music programming makes it a can't-miss.
Experimental electro artist Reba Hasko was lured to Albuquerque from afar.
Hasko's brothers, Josh and Jesse (who form the ambient electronic Burque band North America) eventually enticed Hasko to leave Berlin and join them in New Mexico.
"I was talking to them all the time about the adventures they've had here," Hasko recalls. "It sounds to me like there's something a little spooky about the desert."
An almost ominous sense of suspense and mystery has always been a part of Hasko's shtick. From her early acoustic days with only a piano and her voice, Hasko has branched out to include synthesizer and a bevy of computer-generated bells, horns, strings and hollow overtones. Her classically trained voice slithers and climbs, sometimes panting, often cooing and usually brushed with vibrato. More often than not, Hasko slathers her songs in static. "I'm really into distortion," she admits. "And I got addicted to strings."
When Albuquerque glam band The Foxx went to put out its first release in 2004, it needed a label. So, naturally, bassist Zac Webb started his own enterprise, a vinyl polymer-only affair cleverly known as Vinyl Countdown. More than four years later, he's released six albums that include his band as well as rare sonic items found during record collecting adventures. Next month he will release a double gatefold LP by one of the first L.A. punk bands, Black Randy and the Metrosquad. The album is called Pass the Dust I Think I'm Bowie. He's also soon to release an album by early '80s Kentucky power-pop band Sgt. Arms, and just last weekend signed one of Australia's first DIY punk bands, Last Words. Zac and I had a chat about the record biz over drinks.
Theater seasons generally run the same way school years do—opening in the fall and closing in early summer. Once upon a time, I knew the reasoning behind this, but have since replaced the details with trivia like debit card pin numbers and e-mail passwords. No matter. The new theater season is upon us, whatever the reason for the timing, making way for openings at nearly every theater in town. (For a full schedule, see this week’s Arts Calendar.)
Lisa Gill likes to say that the impetus behind the upcoming STIR festival came as a whim. Since she’s a poet, perhaps she is indeed recrafting language, fashioning it so that whim now means "the flowering fruit of a decade’s passion." Everyone should have whims like these.
My tomato plants are going off, and I'm kind of embarrassed to admit I've still got tons frozen from last year. I don't want to ditch the old ones, especially after putting so much into processing them. But I don't feel like messing around with them when I have so many freshies. Can I just leave them in the freezer and eat them this winter instead of freezing more this year?
—Too Many Maters
A: First of all, TMM, the time and effort you put into those tomatoes last year means absolutely nothing. Like a dog, you must clear your mind of what's done and run forward into the future. If your frozen tomatoes remain in good shape, then use them, and use them soon, because they may not last much longer. If they're already freezer-burned or otherwise disgusting, then feed them to the chickens, the compost pile or, if possible, George W. Bush.
Right off the bat, restaurants in Cedar Crest and other small mountain villages have one thing going for them: an intensely chill attitude. I don’t know if it’s due to the small population or altitude, but every one I’ve ever visited has that trademark vibe to it. Greenside Café is no exception.
How can the state get medical cannabis to patients?
By Marisa Demarco
SANTA FE—Bernie Ellis has an unusual history for a proponent of medical marijuana. In the early '90s, he came to New Mexico to set up a substance-abuse program for the Centers for Disease Control. "I'm still an advocate for reducing the health effects for substance abuse," he says. "Part of the reason I can have a foot in both worlds is that I think it's criminal that we've criminalized marijuana.”
Jim Noel sent a letter to Secretary of State Mary Herrera saying he wouldn't be reporting for duty Monday, Sept. 8, after all. This leaves New Mexico without a director of the Bureau of Elections less than two months before Nov. 4.
Where was a convicted sex offender living? Who just got rearrested? The Rio Grande Zoo will have to do without ... . And what percentage of youths have driven with an impaired adult at the wheel, according to a UNM survey?
For a couple of weeks, I’ve been asking people who aren’t going to vote to contact me and tell me why. Nonvoters aren’t without opinions; they’ve got lots to say on the topic. This week is your last chance to phone me up and use me as an amplifier. Call 346-0660 x. 245 or e-mail email@example.com with a subject line of “nonvoter.”
Lazy writing is a scourge (scourge, a word I too often frequent) on newspapers, newscasts and media objects around the globe. At times certain words absolutely infect journalists. I guess you'd call them memes, although that term has become, well, annoying. But what else do you call this cultural occurrence? Such a pathetic state of affairs. This is a short list of words, irritating and overused, in the media.
Councilors gathered at a special Wednesday, Sept. 3, meeting last week thanks to the Labor Day weekend. Bus shelters were a recurring theme throughout the evening, with Councilors Michael Cadigan, Rey Garduño and Don Harris all requesting the city build more in their districts. Cadigan cited e-mails he'd received from constituents complaining about waiting for buses beside 45- to 60-mph traffic without a safe place to stand, often in places without sidewalks.
Perhaps it required finely tuned feminist radar to detect the media’s sexist treatment of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. I admit, I missed it. But after watching the media’s first week of covering Sarah Palin, I will henceforth pay more attention to claims of media gender bias.
Dateline: Australia—An elementary school in Townsville, Queensland, has banned cartwheels, handstands, somersaults and any form of gymnastics at recess. According to the Townsville Bulletin, a single forward roll is enough to get kids kicked off the playground at Belgian Gardens State School. Parent Kylie Buschgens told the newspapershe was dumbfounded when her daughter Cali, 10, was told she could no longer do cartwheels, even on the grass. Cali and a friend were busted under the school’s new zero-tolerance policy. Ms. Buschgens met with school principal Glenn Dickson and was told gymnastics activities were a “medium risk level 2” that posed a danger to children. “I said [to the principal], ‘What if she keeps doing a handstand?’ and he said she’d get into trouble,” Ms. Buschgens said. “I asked what would happen if she was a repeat handstand offender, and he said that would be defiance and it could lead to her being suspended.”
Tired of the elections already? Perhaps all you need is a little fictional refresher. The Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe is bringing its Big Screen Classics series back this September for a look at “Election Year Films.” The new series launches on Saturday, Sept. 13, with the 1939 fave Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Nominated for 11 Academy Awards, the movie stars Jimmy Stewart as a naive small-town politician who evolves into a cynical Washington insider. Director Frank Capra kept his usual feel-good sense of Americana while exposing hypocrisy and corruption in our government. The screening starts at 7 p.m. and tickets will set you back five lousy bucks. Future “Election Year Films” include the 1962 political thriller The Manchurian Candidate (Friday, Sept. 19, 7 p.m.) and the 1972 Robert Redford satire The Candidate (Friday, Sept. 26, 7 p.m.). Tickets for each film are available at the Lensic box office (211 W. San Francisco St.) and online at TicketsSantaFe.org. As always, you can check out more Lensic info at lensic.org.
The year 2008 has been an odd one for film. Sure, the box office overflowed thanks to films like The Dark Knight and Iron Man. But with the demise of several independent (or semi-independent) distributors, the indie film offerings have felt like slim pickings. Art house theaters have been limited almost exclusively to documentaries this year. A look through our local Guild Cinema’s lineup from the year finds a wealth of nonfiction films like Planet B-Boy, Passion & Power, Body of War, Gashole, Girls Rock!, Let’s Get Lost, Rumi Returning, Constantine’s Sword, Dalai Lama Renaissance, Encounters at the End of the World and Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired. Even mainstream theaters filled out their summertime schedule with documentaries like Young@Heart,American Teen and The Little Red Truck. It’s hard to complain about the variety, though, when the quality remains so damn high. All in all, 2008 has been a hell of a year for documentaries.
Quietly engrossing indie film makes a run for the border (the northern border)
By Devin D. O’Leary
In a year starved for indie film, it’s practically a treat to rest your eyes on a simple, unassuming drama like Frozen River. No exploding Gotham streets, no death-defying Jeep chases through South American jungles. Just low-budget, minor-key character drama in a decidedly unexotic locale.
BBC America has been doing a cracking job lately of picking up the slack left by Sci-Fi Channel. A slate of original hits like “Doctor Who,” “Torchwood,” “Hex,” “Life on Mars” and “Primeval” make Sci-Fi’s lineup of “Battlestar Galactica” (yes!), “Stargate Atlantis” (meh) and ... um, lemme think ... oh, that chintzy “Flash Gordon” series (yeesh) look almost anemic.
The City Council plans to construct a cast bronze war memorial honoring soldiers who've died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Because the memorial would also include a visual connection to 9/11, the design—and the $300,000 price tag—are kindling controversy [Council Watch, “Easing Back In,” Aug. 14-20].
This Friday, Sept. 5, marks the deadline for filmmakers to apply to the New Visions/New Mexico contract awards. For the third year in a row, our state has set aside $160,000 in contract awards. New Mexico filmmakers could be eligible for up to $20,000 for the initialization, production or completion of a film- or video-based project. In addition, Panavison has once again offered to provide two awards of camera rental packages valued at $10,000 each. Narrative films, documentaries, animated and experimental projects are all eligible. Applicants must be 18 years of age and New Mexico residents. Projects will be judged on a variety of criteria, including artistic quality of the project, the applicant’s demonstrated ability, managerial and fiscal ability, and service to the state. Naturally, there’s a lot of paperwork to fill out, so get cracking. You can find all the appropriate information at nmfilm.com.
Winners and losers in the summer 2008 cinematic post-mortem
By Devin D. O’Leary
Labor Day Weekend closed out the summer 2008 movie season on a dark note. It is, traditionally, the only holiday weekend of the year in which box office receipts actually drop. And drop they did, further dampened by the roaring winds of Hurricane Gustav, which all but destroyed (in some cases literally) box office revenue along the Gulf Coast. Last year, Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween set the record, scaring up $30 million over the Labor Day weekend. This year, the highest-grossing new film (Babylon A.D., starring the seemingly moribund Vin Diesel) barely scraped together $10 million over the same four-day weekend.
“We were just outside of the lobby snack bar when the drugs kicked in”
By Devin D. O’Leary
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson is, in a great many ways, the ultimate Hunter S. Thompson documentary. It isn’t perfect, it doesn’t answer every single question, but it does leave us wondering who could possibly offer up a more apt examination. Piloted by documentarian du jour Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Taxi to the Dark Side), the film is a wild, entertaining, multimedia ride though the as-advertised “life and work” of the infamous, drug-fueled father of gonzo journalism.
With the writers’ strike behind us (and a possible actors’ strike ahead of us), the fall 2008 TV season arrives battered, bruised and only slightly behind schedule. As expected, there are fewer new shows than normal. As expected, a great many of them are remakes of older (The CW’s “90210”) or foreign shows (NBC’s “Kath & Kim”). As expected, there are plenty of cheap game shows (ABC’s “Opportunity Knocks”) and reality shows (NBC’s “America’s Toughest Jobs”). So what else can we expect? Let’s go over the (potentially) good and the (expectedly) bad.
I remember all too well what it's like to be 11 years old. Awkward. Insecure. Mentally and hygienically unstable. Nothing like the self-assured tween the Launchpad has become. You're finally a woman, Launchpad. We're so proud of you—mazel tov!
Venerated New Zealand singer-songwriter Tim Finn plays Albuquerque
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Since the early '70s, Tim Finn has been both rocking and mellowing English-speaking countries in the Earth's southern hemisphere. He was frontman for the colorfully original new wave-ish band Split Enz, had a stint in his younger brother's group, Crowded House, also saw success with the Finn Brothers and has had a lengthy solo career. With fans that follow him with a cultish fervor, those that love his music are more than elated that the Auckland-based troubadour presses on after more than 30 years.
Poor Man’s Ferrari, Five Minute Sin and Sabertooth Cavity shred for change. A portion of proceeds from their Saturday, Sept. 6 show at El Rey Theater (21+) goes to the Yellow Ribbon Foundation, a nonprofit that gives aid to U.S. veterans. $7 is the least you can do. (LM)
A day with independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader
By Simon McCormack
Bruce Trigg stands in front of a small roomful of reporters, looking nervous.
The Albuquerque coordinator of the Ralph Nader-Matt Gonzalez presidential campaign is explaining that he doesn’t know where Ralph Nader is. He is 20 minutes late to a news conference at the UNM Student Union Building. “We’ve arranged a pickup, and they have my phone number, but they haven’t called,” Trigg says before leaving the room, presumably to find someone with more information.
A moment later, Trigg returns with a smile. “Hold on, I just saw a familiar face.”
Health care practitioners start talking about an antidote for a poisoned health care system
By Marisa Demarco
Dr. Elizabeth Burpee's daughter was trying to scream, but she couldn't because her tongue was swollen. In the pediatric ER two weeks ago at UNM Hospital, the girl was having a life-threatening allergic reaction to an antibiotic. Burpee is a doctor at the hospital, but that night, she was there as a mom. "I went out to get a nurse, and the nurse was too busy to come right away," Burpee says.
We Democrats don’t call ourselves “liberals” anymore. Thirty years of steady right-wing propagandizing against the term has essentially ruined it, turned it into a pejorative—the political equivalent of “sissy” or someone “cultivated.”
Dateline: Cambodia—Thanks to soaring inflation and increasing demand, the price of rat meat has more than quadrupled in the southeastern Asian nation of Cambodia. With consumer inflation at 37 percent according to the latest Central Bank estimate, demand has pushed a kilogram of rat meat to around 5,000 riel ($1.27). Spicy field rat dishes made with garlic have become particularly popular since beef prices have soared to more than 20,000 riel a kilogram. “Not only are our poor eating it, but there is also demand from Vietnamese living on the border with us,” Ly Marong, a Cambodian agricultural official, told Reuters. He estimated that Cambodia supplies more than a ton of live rats a day to Vietnam. Rats are also widely eaten in Thailand, while the state government in eastern India last month encouraged its people to eat rats in an effort to battle soaring food prices.
New Grounds Print Workshop and Gallery is not asking for gifts to celebrate its 12-year anniversary. Instead, it’s hosting the works of Ando Shinji, a Japanese master printer who merges Western sensibilities with a Japanese aesthetic. This Friday, Sept. 5, New Grounds hosts an opening reception/anniversary party from 5 to 8 p.m., which includes music, food and a raffle for $250 in artwork. Shinji will be present on Friday, Sept. 19, from 6:30 to 7 p.m. for a discussion about his multi-plate etching process. The show is on display through Sept. 27. Call New Grounds at 268-8952 with questions.
A decades-old cassette provided the script and the spark for The Pearl Fantasy. Local performer Amaya, in her early days, ran off to join the German circus Salome as a belly dancer. As she walked around an empty and luxurious Journal Theatre stage at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the cassette became the impetus of a performance that would take a year to put together.
Mention "fungus" and watch as noses around you being to wrinkle. But the truth is, humans have relied on fungi since the beginning of time. The fuzzier members of the family (molds) have brought us cheese and antibiotics, while fruiting varieties (mushrooms) have made their way to our dinner tables and, in some cases, expanded our consciousness. Rumor has it Adam and Eve took full advantage of a certain mushroom’s ability to aid in the latter and inadvertently spawned a religion or two.